The National Capital Civil Services Authority (NCCSA), established through the Centre’s Ordinance, has descended into a farce as bureaucrats unilaterally dictate their own will and overturn decisions made by Chairperson of NCCSA, CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal. The second meeting of the NCCSA held on 29th June 2023, witnessed a complete disregard for the CM’s concerns and directives, and exposed how NCCSA is nothing more than a farce.

Comprising the Chief Minister as Chairperson, along with the Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary (Home), the three-member NCCSA was bestowed with powers to take decisions by a simple majority in the Delhi Ordinance. However, this simple majority has enabled the bureaucrats to override the CM’s decisions, effectively granting them unchecked power over the authority’s operations. Consequently, the Chief Minister’s voice, representing the will of the elected government and the people of Delhi, finds itself in the minority within the NCCSA.

During the aforementioned meeting, Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal expresssed his concerns and issued several crucial directives pertaining to pending transfer-posting proposals. These directives included the objections to the removal of competent officers from the Education department, and the approval of transfers for women officers from their current positions. A total of 11 women officers had requested for transfers on sympathetic grounds. CM supported these requests saying working women handle work at both office and home and therefore their requests must be considered favourably on sympathetic grounds.

Notably, both the bureaucrats did not oppose the CM’s stand during the actual meeting. However, regrettably, when finalizing the minutes of the meeting, the Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary (Home) callously overturned all of the Chief Minister’s decisions, proceeding with their own agenda instead.

As a result, these 11 women officers have been denied transfers despite compelling reasons on sympathetic grounds, and competent officers are being removed from the Education department, jeopardising the progress made thus far.

These developments raise serious concerns about the underlying motives behind such unilateral actions. It appears that a carefully orchestrated plan is underway to undermine Delhi’s education revolution and impede the elected government’s achievements.

Furthermore, it has become evident that the NCCSA has been reduced to a farcical body, functioning under the guise of the Chief Minister’s Chairpersonship, even though none of the decisions made align with the CM’s endorsement. In the same meeting, the Chief Minister proposed that the posting requests made by Ministers Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj and Shri Raaj Kumar Anand be recommended by the Authority. However, the bureaucrats again took advantage of their majority and refused to entertain the matter in the meeting.

Before the first meeting of the NCCSA, the CM had explained the fatality of the Centre’s ordinance and pointed out several provisions that will effectively render the elected government redundant. Speaking at a press conference back then, Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal lambasted the draconian anti-Delhi ordinance imposed by the central government and described it as a blatant power grab that has wreaked havoc on the city. The CM highlighted several nuances of the Ordinance that have shifted all powers to the Central government and made the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) completely redundant. The CM argued that the ordinance not only overturns multiple judgements of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court but also completely cripples the functioning of the GNCTD.

Notably, on 19th May 2023, the Centre had promulgated an ordinance stating that it was the Lieutenant Governor who had the final say on transfers and postings of Delhi bureaucrats, and not the Delhi government, contradicting the Supreme Court order which was rendered on 11th May 2023. The ordinance has been brought in as an amendment to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 and has called for the formation of a ‘National Capital Civil Services Authority’ that will be a small stakeholder in the decision regarding transfers and postings of bureaucrats serving in the national capital.

This ordinance effectively overturns the Supreme Court judgement which had said that the “real power of administration resides in the elected arm of the State”. The five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, led by CJI DY Chandrachud, had said that “a constitutionally entrenched and democratically elected government needs to have control over its administration”.

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