Ask LG to reconsider DERC chief’s removal, Delhi government urges HC

New Delhi, Sep 23 (IANS) The Aam Aadmi Party government on Friday approached the Delhi High Court for directions to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung to reconsider his decision to remove Krishna Saini as Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) chief.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath posted the matter for November 15.

Former Chief Income Tax Commissioner Krishna Saini was appointed the new DERC chief on March 5 as earlier incumbent P.D. Sudhakar retired on January 29.

Jung had on Wednesday scrapped Saini’s appointment and asked the Delhi government to start the selection process afresh as per law.

The government plea contended that removal of Saini from DERC, which performs very essential and significant functions, will have a direct bearing and impact on the seamless supply of electricity in Delhi.

“No fault has been found on the merits in the selection of Krishna Saini as DERC Chairperson and the objection is at best procedural/technical in nature with regard to taking the concurrence of the LG. The Cabinet proposes to request the LG to consider the matter once again and grant ex post facto approval, which would be in the interest of seamless and unhindered supply of electricity to the citizens of the National Capital of Delhi, and hence undeniably in public interest.”

Earlier in the day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged the Lt. Governor to “reconsider” his order removing Krishna Saini as Chairperson of DERC.

Declaring his appointment as void ‘ab initio’ after a period of six months may lead to serious setbacks as all DERC decisions taken during this period will also become “null and void”, the Chief Minister said in a letter to Jung.

The Chief Minister said that since his appointment, Saini — a 1981 batch Indian Revenue Service officer — had taken various measures in the interest of consumers, including making provision for compensation by discoms for unscheduled power cuts, allowing individual metering in group cooperative societies and imposing penalties on discoms for various lapses.

Kejriwal said the entire selection process (for DERC chief) was conducted in a fair and transparent manner.

“The Selection Committee was headed by a retired High Court judge and included the Chairman, CERC (Central Electricity Regulatory Commission), and the Chief Secretary as members… The only infirmity observed by the Lt. Governor is the lack of approval by him,” Kejriwal wrote in the 29-page missive.

Calling it a “curable defect”, he requested the Lt. Governor to review his order.

Referring to the August 4 High Court order that held that the Lt. Governor was the administrative head of the Delhi government, Kejriwal said the judgement has since been challenged in the Supreme Court.

“Since the matter is sub judice, it would only be appropriate that we await the final orders of the Supreme Court,” he said.

Jung had on Wednesday scrapped the appointment of Saini as DERC chief and asked the Delhi government to start the selection process afresh as per law.

–IANS

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