In a move that could further escalate the already intense relation between the Aam Aadmi Party government and the Lt Governor, LG Najeeb Jung today scrapped the appointment of Krishna Saini as chairperson of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) by the Arvind Kejriwal government on grounds of legal infirmities.
"In the given circumstances, the appointment of Chairperson, DERC has been declared as void, ab initio," the LG's office said in a statement.
Jung has also directed the government to initiate the process for selection of the chairperson of the DERC immediately, in accordance with law.
Saini, a former Chief Income Tax Commissioner, was appointed to head Delhi's power regulatory body, which takes crucial decisions relating to power sector including tariff, in March without Jung's approval.
"As per Section 85, Electricity Act, 2003, the Selection Committee is to be constituted by the State Government. The power and functions of the State Government have been delegated to the LG vide government of India notification dated February 20, 2004.
"Further, the Council of Ministers appointed Krishna Saini as Chairperson, Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) without the approval of the Lt Governor," Jung's office said in a statement.
It said as the constitution of the selection committee as well as the appointment of DERC chairperson was done without putting up the matter to Jung for his concurrence, the entire process has been vitiated right from the beginning and "suffers from serious legal infirmities".
While appointing Saini, the AAP government had cited a Delhi High Court order of February 24 saying it was allowed permission to go ahead with his appointment.
Saini had retired as Chief Commissioner of Income Tax in January.
The LG and AAP government have been at loggerheads over a range of issues including appointments and have even been fighting it out in court.
The Delhi High Court had last month held that LG is the administrative head of Delhi following which the AAP government had challenged the verdict in the Supreme Court.
(With PTI inputs)