Spandan Mondal Mondal
Columnist, The Logical Indian
The tussle over constitutional jurisdiction between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has been making headlines over the past few days. The Logical Indian goes through the events of the past two weeks, as follows.
15th May: LG appoints Shakuntala Gamlin as the acting Chief Secretary of Delhi, despite Kejriwal’s strong opposition.
16th May: Kejriwal asks Gamlin to not take charge of the post. Gamlin ignores CM’s directives and follows LG’s.
16th May: Anindo Majumdar, who issued the appointment letter to Gamlin on instructions from Jung, is removed from his post by the CM’s office.
16th May: LG declares CM’s order to transfer Majumdar as “void”.
17th May: Kejriwal accuses Gamlin of trying to favour two Reliance Infra-owned discoms through a Rs. 11,000-crore loan.
18th May: Majumdar finds himself locked out of the office. Later, Rajendra Kumar is appointed Principal Secretary (Services) by the AAP Govt. Promptly, LG declares Kumar’s appointment as “void”.
19th May: Rajendra Kumar appoints senior bureaucrat Arvind Ray as Principal Secretary of general administration department. Kejriwal and Jung both meet the President.
20th May: The LG cancels all appointments made by the AAP government in the last four days.
22nd May: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issues a notification stating that IAS and IPS positions come under the Centre’s control and the LG’s authority is final in appointing bureaucrats. Delhi as a UT: Although Delhi is a Union Territory and not a full-fledged state, it enjoys a special status among UTs and has an elected assembly of its own, which has the right to legislate on all subjects except police, public order and land. Thus the Delhi state Govt. does not have the same authority as other state governments do, a part of the authority being shared by the Centre as well. So can the Delhi CM appoint a bureaucrat as per his choice and/or have a say in the appointment?
Delhi High Court intervenes: On Monday, 25th May, the Delhi High Court, while settling a spat between the Centre and Delhi government regarding the Delhi Anti-Corruption Bureau’s jurisdiction, observed, “The LG must act on the aid and advice of the council of ministers in respect of matters which fall within legislative competence of the Delhi assembly.” The HC’s verdict pertains specifically to subjects that fall within the state’s competence, such as the Delhi ACB’s jurisdiction. Whether appointment of the chief secretary falls within the Centre’s discretion or the State’s is definitely something that the constitution decides. But, it is sad that selfish feuds for gaining political power figure at a higher position in the priority lists of our political parties than the general welfare of the public.
The Logical Indian community hopes that this political feud is solved as soon as possible honouring both our constitution and the people’s mandate.
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