Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

L-G refused to hand over services department to Delhi govt: Arvind Kejriwal

The AAP alleged that while the L-G agreed that the government did not have to consult him on every issue, he refused to agree on the matter of services

New Delhi: Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Friday alleged that lieutenant governor (L-G) Anil Baijal had refused to hand over the services department to the government, even as Baijal assured the state government of his continued support.

Kejriwal and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Friday met Baijal for the first time after the Supreme Court delivered its verdict on the Delhi–centre power tussle. This was also the first meeting with the L-G after Kejriwal and Sisodia, along with cabinet ministers Gopal Rai and Satyendar Jain, staged a sit-in at the L-G’s office for nine days.

“Met Hon’ble CM @ArvindKejriwal & Hon’ble Dy CM @msisodia. Assured them of my continued support & cooperation in the interest of good governance & overall development of Delhi as per the letter and spirit of Constitution," the official Twitter account of the L-G said after the meeting.

The AAP alleged that while the L-G agreed that the government did not have to consult him on every issue, he refused to agree on the matter of services. The service departments responsibilities include the transfer postings of officers. The state government has also sought time with home minister Rajnath Singh to discuss the issue.

“The judgement said that the L-G is bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers. There is no need for the concurrence of the L-G on every issue," Kejriwal said at a press conference. “The decisions of the Delhi government will be communicated to him. The good news is that when we discussed this with the L-G, he agreed."

“The second matter was on services," he said. “The SC has clearly said that other than three subjects—police, land and public order—the elected government has power for everything else. The L-G refused to agree on this matter. He said the ministry of home affairs has directed that services power will be with the L-G. This would be the first time in the history of the country where the central government is refusing to follow the orders of the SC. If this becomes a precedent, then there will be anarchy in the country. They are now looking for excuses."

Soon after the Supreme Court verdict on Wednesday, the Delhi government issued an order saying that the approving authority for transfers of senior administrative services officers would be the chief minister. However, the services department refused to comply with the order, given that the apex court did not mention the home ministry notification, which had put administrative services within the ambit of the L-G.

Putting the apex court order in action, the Delhi government on Friday approved the scheme for the doorstep delivery of rations and the final instalment of the construction of Signature Bridge. The government claimed that work was stuck on this because of obstruction by the LG.

The apex court, in its ruling, said that the council of ministers had supremacy over the LG in governance, except in matters of public order, police and land. The court also ruled that there was no room for absolutism and anarchy in the constitution and a balance must be struck to achieve the goals of “cooperative federalism" by working harmoniously.

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