A bench of Justices AK Sikri and UU Lalit, while refusing to stay Delhi HC order allowing Anti- Corruption Bureau of Delhi to take action against officials in corruption cases, clarified that observation made by the High Court on Ministry of Home Affairs notification of May 21 was tentative in nature and it would not be binding.
Apex Court described as tentative a high court observation that the central government’s May 21 order giving Delhi’s lieutenant governor (Najeeb Jung) the final say in posting and transfers of bureaucrats was ‘suspect’, even as it issued notice to the city government on the issue. While saying that observation in paragraph 66 of the high court judgment holding notification suspect as tentative, the apex court said that in respect of other paragraphs it will a call only after receiving reply from the Delhi government.
The apex court issued notice to Arvind Kejriwal Government on Centre petition and asked it to file response within three weeks. The court also said that dispute arising out of power tussle between Delhi Government and Centre should be decided by the Supreme Court and asked the AAP government to take a decision whether it wants the case to decided in Supreme Court or Delhi high court.
In a big blow to the Aam Aadmi Party Government in Delhi, the Supreme Court has stayed the Delhi High Court’s observations on Delhi Government’s notification which said that the Lieutenant Governor has no power in posting and transfer of bureaucrats. The Supreme Court further observed that the High Court observations will not have any bearing on the case filed by the Delhi government challenging the Home Ministry notification.
A bench of Justices AK Sikri and UU Lalit of the Apex Court while, refusing to stay Delhi HC order allowing Anti- Corruption Bureau of Delhi to take action against officials in corruption cases, clarified that observation made by the High Court on Ministry of Home Affairs notification of May 21 was tentative in nature and it would not be binding.
While replying to the Supreme Court’s comment seeking clarity on Section 66 A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, Central Government informed the apex court that Government is willing to take a re-look at Section 66 A of the Information Technology Act, which empowers police to make arrests over social media messages, and to put in necessary safeguards for allaying apprehensions against its misuse.
Government gave assurance to that, it will take appropriate steps to frame necessary guidelines to curb misuse of Section 66 A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. Government also assured the guarantee of absolute freedom of speech and expression on the social media.
Central Government further submitted that the government had an open mind regarding applicability of Section 66 A and that if necessary, it could also frame guidelines to make sure the law is not abused to arrest innocent people and curtail their fundamental right and the government is willing to take all pre-emptive steps to negate the chilling effect that Section 66 A may have on an individual’s right to speech and expression. Government further promised that, even the most vociferous of the political dissent would not be attempted to be curbed by way of this legislation.
Considering the submissions made by the Central Government court advised petitioners, who have challenged the constitutional validity of Section 66 A, to give their suggestions regarding the proposed safeguards by December 25 to Additional Solicitor General (ASG). “The government will consider these suggestions on the guidelines to be framed and we can then hammer out the issues,” said the bench, while adjourning the case to 13 January, 2015.