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Officials defy Kejriwal despite SC order
By Resmi Sivaram July 06, 2018
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NEW DELHI: Bureaucrats in the Delhi government has refused to comply with Wednesday’s Supreme Court (SC) order clearly stating that the elected government, which reflects the will of the people, has powers that cannot be clipped by the Lieutenant Governor (LG) of the Union Territory.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the IAS officers are refusing to take orders.

Sisodia had issued orders taking back the power to transfer officers, but the services department rejected it, saying that the LG remains in charge of this key department.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, meanwhile, wrote to the LG pointing out the SC ruling that the elected government is the boss in the capital and does not need a sign-off on every decision.

“The LG’s concurrence would now not be required on any matter,” Kejriwal wrote. “However, all decisions shall be duly communicated to the LG.”

The 585-page verdict gives primacy to the elected government, but does not specifically mention “services” or any other specific department.

According to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the order makes it clear that apart from the three reserved subjects - land, police and public order - all subjects fall under the purview of the state government.

However, Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash wrote to Sisodia on Wednesday night that the order does not specifically quash a 2015 notification that took the services department away from the Delhi government.

Sisodia said, “The order said the Centre has power on only three subjects. It also said Centre has power on no other subjects but these three. On all other transferred subjects, the executive power lies with the legislative Assembly and Delhi’s Council of Ministers.”

“There is no room for doubt. After this, the services subject can in no way be under the Centre. Officers are saying that they won’t follow orders since the MHA notification from 2015 has not been quashed. This is a violation of court orders. The highest court of the land has issued orders, now there is no room for doubt.

“The Supreme Court order has made things very clear about how the system is supposed to function in Delhi and what the constitutional framework is. It is unfortunate that despite that officers have refused to listen to those orders. If the orders of the courts are rejected by the officers, how will democracy function? This will lead to chaos.”

Taking a dig at the Centre, he said, “Maybe the Centre didn’t like it or the LG didn’t like it or some officers didn’t like it. But it doesn’t matter if you like it or not, you have to follow the court’s orders. Two years ago, the High Court gave orders against the elected government of Delhi. We still respected the orders.”

Meanwhile Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said “silence on issues cannot imply a verdict in favour of anyone” and that Centre still had an upper hand over both LG and Delhi government in situations where LG differs with Delhi government citing reasons.”

“If the L-G has good and cogent reasons supported by material to disagree, he can record the same in writing and refer the same to the President (i.e. the Central Government), which will resolve the difference of opinion between the state government and the Lieutenant Governor.

The decision of the Central government will be binding both on the Lieutenant Governor and the elected state government. Thus hereto the opinion of the Centre is overriding.”

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