Appropriate appointing authority for Secretary of Delhi Legislative Assembly is Lt. Governor, not speaker: Delhi High Court

The Court also stressed that once an appointment was found to be void from the beginning, the petitioner had no enforceable legal right on the basis of an illegal appointment.
Justice Chandra Dhari Singh, Delhi High Court
Justice Chandra Dhari Singh, Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court recently held that for the appointment of Secretary to the Delhi Legislative Assembly (DLA), the appropriate appointing Authority is the Lieutenant Governor and not the Speaker of the house [Siddharth Rao v The Government Of NCT Of Delhi].

Justice Chandra Dhari Singh held that the Speaker could, at most, have a say to the extent of being consulted.

Appointments to the position of Secretary, DLA fall outside the purview of the office of Speaker, DLA who, to the most, could have a say to the extent of being consulted and even not that of his concurrence”, said the single-judge.

The issue arose when the petitioner was relieved and subsequently terminated from his services as Secretary, and all his posts held at the DLA were found illegal.

The petitioner had been recommended for appointment as an officer on Special Duty, and was permanently absorbed in the DLA on the recommendation of the speaker.  

The petitioner’s counsel contended that his services were terminated without any reason and in complete disregard of the law. It was argued that the post of assembly secretary was created and sanctioned exclusively for the assembly as they are not transferable or controlled by the executive.

Therefore, the main issue for examination was whether the Speaker had the power to recruit the petitioner, grant absorption, and further appoint him as the secretary. The question was answered in the negative after examining constitutional provisions.

In none of the appointments of petitioner against the abovementioned posts, the Lt. Governor’s consent and approval for such appointment was obtained and therefore, these appointments were per se illegal and void ab-initio,” the order said.

The Court also went on to consider that despite being granted an opportunity twice through a show-cause notice for personal hearing, the petitioner chose not to avail it. Therefore, he could not argue that principles of natural justice have been violated to his disadvantage.

Further, it was emphasised that once an appointment is found to be void from the beginning, the petitioner had no enforceable legal right on the basis of an illegal appointment.

The petitioner cannot claim observance of same procedure towards termination of service of regularly appointed persons.”

Advocates Ravinder K. Yadav, Vinay Mohan Sharma, Baljeet Singh, Arti Anupriya, Vineet Yadav, Kartikey, Charu Sharma, Raghav Anthwal, Abhimanyu Yadav and Paras Juneja appeared for the petitioner while the respondents were represented by ASC Yeeshu Jain, Advocate Jyoti Tyagi and Senior Asisstant Raj Kumar.

[Read Judgment]

Siddharth Rao v Government of NCT.pdf
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