The Aam Aadmi Party government has threatened to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Delhi’s top bureaucrat for allegedly toeing the Centre’s line and violating orders, the latest episode in a bitter power tussle between the chief minister and lieutenant governor.
Sources said deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia issued an order last week directing Delhi chief secretary KK Sharma not to violate rules and a standing order issued by CM Arvind Kejriwal that said all files must be placed before his office and the cabinet before any decisions are taken.
“He has also been warned not to violate the transaction of business rules and standing orders which have been issued by the CM and ministers,” said a source.
The AAP government may be upset with the 1983-batch IAS officer because he didn’t acknowledge party pick Rajender Kumar as home secretary and reinstated Dharam Pal — a Union home ministry appointee — during a pitched battle between the CM and LG in June.
Both sides had dug in their heels and refused to budge, resulting in an unprecedented situation where two home secretaries were functioning from the Delhi secretariat, but ultimately, Kumar had to go.
He also asked the AAP nominee not to interfere in the functioning of the home department.
Sharma refused to comment on the issue but sources said the state government didn’t have the powers to initiate such proceedings, especially because the chief secretary was following the directions of the home ministry.
“If the competent authorities issue certain directions, the chief secretary will have to follow them. He’s only discharging his duties,” said a senior Delhi government official.
The drama over the home secretary’s position was the first in a series of clashes over bureaucratic appointments with the LG overruling several AAP picks and installing officers of his choice.
Kejriwal’s June 17 standing order said any direction received from the LG’s office to the chief secretary should first be submitted to the minister-in-charge and the CM but ran into a storm of controversy as Jung asked the AAP administration to withdraw the notice.
The AAP and the Centre have clashed over the position of the chief secretary too. Kejriwal was keen to appoint IAS officer RS Negi but was turned down by the Centre, leading to Sharma’s appointment. Sources said the AAP had charged Sharma with violating the standing order many times in the past.
The conflict stems from Delhi’s unique position as the national capital, where several important departments such as police and law and order-- in addition to key agencies such as the DDA -- function under the LG, who reports to the Union home ministry.
The protracted battle has adversely affected governance in the Capital, experts say, but Kejriwal -- a former revenue officer whose AAP was born out of massive anti-corruption protests – says the Centre was trying to run Delhi by proxy.