There were as many as 57 instances of extensions being granted to superannuating chief secretaries of various states in the last 10 years, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
In a major setback to the AAP government, a bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud allowed the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to extend the tenure of Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar, a day before he was set to demit office on November 30, for six months.
The bench held that the union government's decision did not violate law or the Constitution.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain appeared for the Centre and vehemently argued that the union government has all the power to appoint and extend the tenure of the top official in view of the amended law and other provisions.
The solicitor general opposed the submissions of senior lawyer Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for the AAP government, that the provision in the new law dealing with the chief secretary was merely a definition clause.
Mehta said the provision clarified that the power of appointing the Chief Secretary was with the Central Government.
"There are as many as 57 instances of extensions being granted to superannuating chief secretaries of various states," he added.
At the outset, Singhvi, said the chief secretary deals with hundred other matters, besides police, public order and land and they are within the exclusive domain of the Delhi government and hence, it should have a say on the ground of "collegiality".
"The Chief Secretary, inter alia, performs functions under (entry) 1, 2 and 18 (of the seventh schedule of the Constitution) and you cannot bifurcate the functions as those which fall and those which don't under those entries, as you have tried to do," the bench said.
"Can there be any justification in appointing a person in whom there is zero confidence by the Delhi government? And why should that person's post be extended," Singhvi asked.
He said there was a "lady chief minister in Delhi for 15 years. This never happened..."
"We can't postulate that in those 5 years only the government of the Centre was reasonable, even the state government was reasonable. Now both of you can't see eye to eye," the CJI said.
The solicitor general, in his submissions, referred to AGMUT cadre and said for this, the state government meant the Centre.
The top law officer referred to Section 45A(d) of the GNCTD Act and said the "Chief Secretary" means the "chief secretary of the government of National Capital Territory of Delhi appointed by the central government”.
-With PTI Input