New Delhi: Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on Wednesday scrapped the appointment of Krishna Saini as chairperson of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) by the AAP government on grounds of legal infirmities, further escalating the already intense confrontation between the two sides.
The L-G's office said Saini was appointed to the top post of DERC in March without approval of Jung as mandated under rules and procedures. "In the given circumstances, the appointment of the chairpersonhas been declared as void, ab initio," the L-G'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 the regulator, 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 L-G vide Government of India notification dated 20 February, 2004. Further, the council of ministers appointed Sh. Krishna Saini as chairperson, 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 24 February saying it was allowed permission to go ahead with his appointment.
Saini had retired as chief commissioner of Income Tax in January.
The L-G and the 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 L-G is the administrative head of Delhi following which the AAP government had challenged the verdict in the Supreme Court.
Later talking to reporters, Jung said Saini's appointment was quashed as it was "irregular".
Power experts said the L-G's decision will further delay the tariff fixation process and all other directives issued by the government to DERC under Section 108 of the Electricity Act without the approval of the LG.
The government, which has time and again held the performance of the discoms as "atrocious", had ordered the DERC to compensate consumers for unscheduled power cuts
The Delhi High Court, in its 4 August order, had also termed as illegal the appointment of nominee directors of the Delhi government in the boards of the three discoms.