Row with Centre over control of services: SC quizzes Delhi govt on affidavit filed by Sisodia

India News

The Supreme Court on Friday quizzed the Delhi government over a recent affidavit filed by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in the case concerning a dispute with the Centre over control of services in the national Capital, and refused to ask the Centre to file its response as prayed for in the affidavit.

A bench presided by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud also put a freeze on filing further pleadings, meaning thereby that parties to the case cannot file any further documents and affidavits till further orders.

“What we will do is we will now freeze all pleadings… We are not calling for the reply. Because otherwise people will start filing affidavits until one day before the hearing…,” the CJI told senior advocate A M Singhvi as he sought to bring the fact of the filing of the affidavit to the notice of the court.

Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain opposed the filing of the affidavit and it being mentioned before the court.

Calling it “an abuse of the process”, Jain said political slugfest has been converted into an affidavit and shared with the press before the filing when the matter is already fixed for hearing on November 24. “This affidavit says we should be asked to file our response within one week…This cannot be dictated like this….,” Jain added.

The bench then told Singhvi the issue before the Constitution bench is a matter of law in regard to control over services. “Now whatever is happening on the ground, for you to say that I am putting an affidavit, now you ask them to respond… we are only converting this into sort of a …”.

Singhvi said, “The reason it was filed simply was when your Lordships say services, today every bureaucrat is not sending the file, answering my calls and responding to me, that is the effect of the interpretation adopted by them”.

“That you can make your point. No problem,” said the CJI.

“I’m not asking to file a reply. I am mentioning so that they can have advance notice so that if they want to file, they may file,” said Singhvi.

The bench also pointed to Jain’s statement that it was given to the press even before filing. Singhvi denied this and said today anything filed is known to the press. “I have not given a single copy. Your Lordships know the press gets copies everywhere”.

“What we will do is this. We will not ask them to file a reply. We will deal with the constitutional issue. Obviously underlying a constitutional issue is a political issue… We are a democracy. At the same time, we would like to deal with the constitutional issue… We can step back from the actual arena of conflict and resolve the issue…,” CJI Chandrachud said.

Singhvi further said the context of a legal issue does not become clear if the court does not see the effect of the issue. But Justice Chandrachud pointed out, “You could have said that actually without filing an affidavit”

A five-judge Constitution bench is scheduled to hear the matter on November 24.

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