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Supreme Court To Hear AAP's Plea On New DERC Chairperson Appointment

The Delhi government contends the appointment as "illegal and unconstitutional," further escalating tensions between the state administration and the central authority.

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The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the petition filed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government tomorrow, challenging the appointment of justice (retired) Umesh Kumar as the chairperson of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC). The Delhi government has labeled the decision as "illegal and unconstitutional," claiming that it disregarded the aid and advice of the elected government.

The position of DERC chairperson had remained vacant since January 10 after justice (retired) Shabihul Husnain's retirement. Delhi Power Minister Atishi accused the appointment as a violation of the constitution, alleging that the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had recommended justice (retired) Sangeet Lodha for the post.

Atishi argued that the elected government's advice is binding on all subjects except land, public order, and police, as repeatedly stated by the Supreme Court. Electricity, being a transferred subject falling under the jurisdiction of the elected government, should have followed the recommendations of the Delhi government.

Initially, CM Kejriwal approved the appointment of justice (retired) Rajeev Shrivastava, and the file was presented by former Deputy CM Manish Sisodia. However, Lieutenant Governor Vinai Saxena returned the file, recommending consultation with the Delhi High Court Chief Justice for the appointment.

Following delays caused by the Lieutenant Governor, the Delhi government approached the Supreme Court on April 12, accusing the LG of obstructing the appointment process. On May 19, the apex court asserted that the LG should not act based on personal discretion in such matters and directed the government to appoint the DERC chairperson within two weeks.

Subsequently, justice Shrivastava expressed his inability to accept the appointment due to personal commitments.

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