Politics

LG Hits Back at Kejriwal, Strikes Down His Appointments

New Delhi: Under attack from various political parties, constitutional experts and the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi for allegedly usurping the powers of the elected Council of Ministers, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on Wednesday clarified his position to the Chief Minister.

In a letter, he said the the order issued by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on May 15 was “fundamentally at variance with the Constitution since service matters are assigned to the Lt. Governor under the powers delegated to him by the President of India. The Lt. Governor alone is competent to approve transfer and posting of Pr. Secretary/Secretary level officers, in consultation with the Chief Minister. This is so prescribed under order no. F. 57/3/94-S.I dated 09.04.1994 which holds even today.”

Jung said his office  had received copies of some orders and communications in the past few days which had a bearing on the transaction of government business and the respective spheres of functioning assigned to the LG and CM under the Constitution of India. “These orders and communications have tended to obfuscate the special position that Delhi has, as the National Capital, which is significantly different from other States. Delhi is a Union Territory with a Legislative Assembly and not a State and therefore has important points of distinction.”

He said the order issued by the Deputy CM was against the standing order dated May 9, 1994, which defines the levels in the government for approval of transfer and postings of senior officers.

Jung noted that in a subsequent order on May 17, issued by the CM, the Principal Secretary / Secretaries in the Government have been directed to put up all files — including even those in which the LG has exclusive jurisdiction in his executive capacity — through ministers and has directed that the orders of the LG to officers be first put up to the ministers for decision.

In his communication issued to Kejriwal on Wednesday, Jung has clarified the constitutional position wherein the LG is required under the Constitution and through the delegation of powers made to him by the President of India, to act in his executive capacity, in his discretion, in consultation with the CM where deemed necessary. The order of the CM to officers was in violation of this basic distinction, he said.

Finally, referring to the communication received from Sisodia invalidating the removal of Anindo Majumdar as Principal Secretary (Services) and assigning charge to Rajendra Kumar, the LG states that both these orders were without his approval and purportedly not as per the Constitution and law and thus could not be acted upon.

He said Sisodia’s orders were not in “conformity with the delegation in service matters” and that “the situation and procedure prior to the issue of the letter dated May 16, 2015 shall continue”.

Incidentally, while the BJP has stood beside Jung on the question of the exercise of his powers, the Congress, which had nominated him as LG, is siding with the AAP in the current tussle. But former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit has also noted that “we should remember that Delhi is a Union Territory. The Lieutenant Governor has some powers which are only under him and not the Chief Minister. Every file which the cabinet or the Chief Minister clears normally goes to the Lieutenant Governor.”