The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the Centre’s decision to extend the tenure of Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar by six months, a move that came just as he was about to leave office on November 30, 2023.
A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud along with Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra stated that the Union government’s decision “cannot be construed to be violative of law.”
The court clarified that its order supporting the extension is based on a prima facie view and does not consider issues pending adjudication before the constitution bench, which is examining the amended law dealing with services in the national capital.
The bench highlighted that the Ministry of Home Affairs has the authority to extend the chief secretary’s tenure, particularly concerning matters related to Entry 1, 2, and 8 (police, public order, and land) of the seventh schedule of the State List of the Constitution.
These subjects fall outside the legislative and executive ambit of the Delhi government, indicating that the Centre has the requisite power to extend the chief secretary’s tenure.
The Centre had informed the court on Tuesday of its intention to extend Kumar’s tenure.
The court had then questioned whether the Centre had the necessary power to take such a step and expressed concern about being “stuck with only one person” if no other IAS officer was available for the top bureaucratic post.
The court was hearing the Delhi government’s plea against any unilateral appointment or extension of the chief secretary by the Centre without consultation with the state government.