The Delhi High Court has held that for the appointment of Secretary to the Delhi Legislative Assembly (DLA), the Lieutenant Governor is the appropriate appointing authority and not the Speaker of the house.

The bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh held that "after having analyzed the constitutional provisions, it is concluded that 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. The appropriate Appointing Authority is the Lt. Governor of the NCT of Delhi."

In this case, the writ petition was preferred against the order of the Government of Delhi (respondent) whereby the petitioner was relieved from his service as Secretary, and all his posts held at DLA were found illegal. The petitioner was recommended for appointment as an officer on Special Duty and was permanently absorbed in the DLA on the recommendation of the speaker.

Advocate Ravinder K. Yadav appeared for the petitioner and contended that the services of the petitioner were terminated without any reason and without conducting any inquiry in violation of Article 311 of the constitution of India. It was also argued that the speaker had the control to make appointments to the post of Assembly Secretary and other Ex-Cadre posts like Joint Secretary, Legislation, reporters etc. were created and sanctioned exclusively for the Assembly as these posts were neither transferable nor Executive have any control on them.

ASC Yeeshu Jain appeared for the respondent.

The issues dealt with by the Court were -

  • Whether the Speaker had the power to recruit the petitioner, grant absorption, and further appoint him to the post of Secretary

The Court observed that "the posts could be created in Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi with the approval of Lt. Governor, Delhi, who is the Competent Authority by virtue of delegation of powers in this regard under Article 309 of the Constitution. As already discussed, the DLA has no separate secretarial cadre and as such, either the Speaker or any authority of the DLA has no competence either to create such a post or to male appointments to such post."

Therefore, the first issue was answered in the negative after examining the Constitutional provisions.

  • Whether the appointment of the petitioner was legal or not.

The Court observed that in none of the appointments of petitioner, the consent and approval of Lt. Governor's, who was the appointing authority, was not obtained and therefore, these appointments were per se illegal and void ab-initio being in violation of the Rules made under Article 309 of the Constitution and also because the non-compliance goes to the root of all these illegal appointments.

  • Whether the termination was just and proper and in accordance with law.

The Court observed that the petitioner was granted many opportunities by way of replying to the show cause notice and by way of personal hearings, the petitioner chose not to avail those opportunities and thus, now he could not argue that principles of natural justice had been violated to his disadvantage and that the petitioner's termination was not illegal.

The Court further observed that "when the appointment is void ab-initio, no enforceable legal right can be accrued to the petitioner on basis of illegal appointments and the petitioner cannot claim observance of same procedure towards termination of service of regularly appointed persons."

Accordingly, the petition was dismissed.

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