The Supreme Court on Thursday said that it will appoint an ad hoc chairman of the DERC after it was told that the Delhi Lt Governor and Chief Minister failed to reach consensus on who should head the electricity tariff regulatory body.
A bench, headed by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising Justices P.S. Narasimha and Manoj Misra, expressed its concern over the “headless” institution.
“It is sad no one cares about the institution,” remarked Justice Narasimha.
The top court indicated that it will temporarily appoint someone on pro tem basis to felicitate functioning of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) till disposal of the case.
“We went there (to Lt Governor) with three names..and two additional names but we could not agree,” submitted senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who represented Delhi government.
On the other hand, senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Lt Governor, said any candidate fit in court’s wisdom may be appointed to chair the DERC.
The court posted the matter for further consideration on August 4.
On Monday, the Supreme Court had asked Lt Governor and Chief Minister to “sit together” and “rise above political bickering” to mutually decide on the name of the Chairman of the DERC and then posted the matter for further hearing on Thursday.
On July 4, the Supreme Court had directed the Lt Governor to not administer oath of office to the newly appointed DERC Chairman Justice Umesh Kumar (retired) . It had directed that the administering of oath to the former judge of the Allahabad High Court will stand deferred till July 11.
The top court was hearing the petition moved by the AAP-led Delhi government's plea claiming that appointment of the DERC Chairman was 'illegal and unconstitutional'. It claimed that the appointment was made by 'overlooking' the aid and advice of the elected government. On June 22, the Lt Governor had appointed Umesh Kumar as the Chairman, ignoring Delhi's government's recommendation to appoint retired MP High Court Judge, Justice Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava.
The Delhi government has challenged Section 45-A of the GNCTD Act introduced through the recent ordinance giving overriding powers to the Lt Governor over the elected government in the matter of appointments.