Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing on completion of his government’s 100 days, at Connaught Place’s Central Park in New Delhi, May 25. (Vijay Verma | PTI)
In no mood to back down on the issue of jurisdiction over appointments, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is reaching out to non-BJP chief ministers to mount political pressure on the Modi government even as the matter reached the Courts. A PTI report.
Kejriwal is conveying to chief ministers of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal among others that the Center’s notification, throwing its weight behind Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, was detrimental to India’s federal structure and it may happen to their states as well.
Sources said Kejriwal is sending separate letters to his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Bihar’s Nitish Kumar.
They said AAP may separately approach leaders of major Opposition parties to persuade them to raise the issue during the monsoon session of the Parliament.
On May 25, Banerjee posted a few tweets putting her weight behind Kejriwal.
“Too much interference in the federal structure is unacceptable. The state govt is an elected body. Central govt is also an elected body,” one of her tweets said.
“Every elected body has its own jurisdiction. One must respect the other,” she said in another tweet.
Sources said Banerjee tweeted as Kejriwal called her up for “advice.”
Speaking at the assembly yesterday, Kejriwal had said that the notification conferring more powers on Lt Governor Najeeb Jung was part of an “experiment” to take the country towards “dictatorship,” asserting that it was ready for a long fight on the issue.
In the notification, the Center had given absolute powers to the LG in appointment of bureaucrats while also clarifying that he need not “consult” the Chief Minister on subjects like police and public order.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau of the Delhi government, which is probing a number of high-profile cases, has also been barred from registering any case against officers and political functionaries of the central government.
However, the Delhi High Court ruled that the ACB has the authority to probe central government officials, including Delhi Police personnel. The Center has challenged the High Court order in the Supreme Court.
The AAP government also moved the Delhi High Court challenging the Center’s notification.
The Delhi Assembly yesterday passed a resolution holding the notification “completely unconstitutional, illegal and invalid.”
Center, Delhi Gov’t Get a Hearing
New Delhi, May 29 (PTI)
As of May 29, both the Center and the Delhi Government failed to get total relief from courts in their current battle over AAP government’s right to appoint senior bureaucrats to key posts.
While the Supreme Court refused to stay the observations of the Delhi High Court, which had termed as “suspect” the recent Center’s notification clipping powers of the AAP government, the High Court did not stay or quash the Center’s notification barring Delhi government’s jurisdiction over central officials.
The apex court said that the Delhi High Court observations in its May 25 order were “only tentative in nature” without expressing any opinion on its validity.
It also suggested that the matter from Delhi High Court could also be transferred to it so that there was a finality on the issue.
A Bench of justices A.K. Sikri and U.U. Lalit, however, decided to examine the Center’s challenge to May 25 High Court order on the jurisdiction of NCT government’s anti-corruption branch (ACB) to arrest policemen.
The court, which noted that the AAP Government has filed a fresh petition in the High Court against the May 21 notification giving discretion to the Lieutenant Governor in appointing bureaucrats, directed the HC to hear it independently without being influenced by the observations made by the single judge on the notification.
“However, insofar as observations made in Para 66 are concerned, we find that they pertain to Notification issued on May 21, 2015 which was issued after the judgment was reserved by the High Court. Neither the Union of India was party who had issued this Notification nor was there any occasion to any hearing on the said Notification.
“We are also informed that this Notification has been challenged by the Delhi Government by filing the Writ Petition in the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution.
“We, therefore, clarify that the observations made therein were only tentative in nature without expressing any opinion on the validity of Notification dated May 21, 2015 and it would be open to the High Court to deal with the said petition independently without being influenced by any observations made in Para 66, or for that matter in other paragraphs of the impugned order,” the SC bench said.
Meanwhile, the battle was also fought in the Delhi High Court which did not grant either a stay or quash the Center’s notification clipping AAP administration’s powers.
However, it directed the Lt Governor to “deliberate” on the city government’s proposals on appointment of senior bureaucrats to key posts.
Hearing the Delhi government’s plea for quashing the May 21 order of the Center barring the anti-corruption branch from proceeding against any staff under Center’s control, the court, as an interim measure, asked the LG to deliberate upon the AAP government’s orders shifting nine bureaucrats from one post to another.
It also sought the Center’s response on AAP government’s plea seeking quashing of a notification which gave the Lt Governor absolute powers to appoint bureaucrats to various posts in the national capital.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher gave the interim order after senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for the Delhi government, suggested the via media to break the “conundrum.”
She said the government will send its proposal for allocating different posts to the LG, who can then follow the procedure laid down in the Transaction of Business Rules.
Jaising argued that in view of the notification the officers were not reporting for duty where they were posted and as a result running of government has come to a stand still.
“They (Center) can’t short circuit the procedure provided under the Rules and the Constitution,” she said.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain opposed the suggestion saying the city government was “inherently ineligible” for “tweaking or tinkering” with the officers allocated to it by the Center which decides where they have to be posted.
He also said that when the city government did not have the power to give an opinion on the issue, then the question of sending the proposal to the LG does not arise.