SC questions Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar’s proposed tenure extension

The central government informed the Supreme Court of its intention to extend the tenure of Delhi's current Chief Secretary, Naresh Kumar (IAS:1987:AGMUT), for a limited period until a new officer is appointed.

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The central government informed the Supreme Court of its intention to extend the tenure of Delhi’s current Chief Secretary, Naresh Kumar (IAS:1987:AGMUT), for a limited period until a new officer is appointed. In response, the bench of the Supreme Court sought clarification from the Solicitor General, who represented the Centre, regarding the legal provisions supporting this decision.

The term of the current Chief Secretary of Delhi is set to conclude on November 30. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, presenting the Centre’s stance before a three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, stated, “Till a new appointment is done, we intend to extend the tenure of the present Chief Secretary.”

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Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Delhi Government, objected to the singular focus on one officer and questioned why the Centre couldn’t choose from the top five IAS officers in the hierarchy. Singhvi pointed out that the Supreme Court had granted services authority to the Delhi government in its judgment, but the Centre had subsequently introduced an ordinance, nullifying the Delhi Government’s original power to appoint the Chief Secretary.

In response, the bench asked the Solicitor General to provide the legal basis for extending the Chief Secretary’s tenure or make a fresh appointment. The Solicitor General assured the bench that the extension was temporary, and a new appointment would be made. However, the bench questioned the necessity of extending the tenure instead of making a fresh appointment, emphasizing the availability of eligible candidates nationwide.

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The bench instructed the Centre to elucidate the legal provisions justifying the extension by the following Wednesday (November 29). The Solicitor General committed to seeking instructions on the matter.