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

Now AAP, centre tussle over transfer of bureaucrats

The Delhi government issues order saying the approving authority for transfers of senior bureaucrats would be the chief minister but the services department refuses to comply

New Delhi: A day after the Supreme Court said that real power rests with the elected government and not the lieutenant governor (L-G), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government is again on a collision course with the bureaucracy over transfer posting orders.

The Delhi government on Wednesday 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 under the ambit of the L-G.

AAP leaders are now holding consultations with lawyers on the issue. “It is unfortunate that even though the Supreme Court has cleared the confusion, officers have refused to agree with the order. In a democracy, if officers go against the Constitution bench of the highest court then where does law and order go?" asked deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.

Union minister Arun Jaitley in a blog post, however, said that there were several issues that had not been directly commented upon and that “none can assume that silence implies an opinion in favour of one or the other".

“The Supreme Court has held categorically that Delhi cannot compare itself at par with other states and, therefore, any presumption that the administration of the UT cadre of the services has been decided in favour of the Delhi government would be wholly erroneous," he said.

Earlier in the day, Delhi chief minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal had also shot off a letter to L-G Anil Baijal urging him to ask “all stakeholders to work towards implementing the Supreme Court order in letter and in spirit".

The apex court, in its ruling, said that the council of ministers had supremacy over the L-G in governance, except in matters of public order, police and land, which fall under the domain of the L-G’s executive power. 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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