LG encroaching on Delhi govt’s turf, says Sisodia
- The deputy CM “humbly requested” Baijal to desist from such “activities”.
Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday objected to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal holding meetings with bureaucrats and instructing them on works that come under the purview of the elected government, in a letter that is likely to further intensify the conflict between the AAP dispensation and the LG who represents the Centre.
Sisodia called the LG’s actions “murder of democracy” and violative of the Supreme Court judgment.
“Over the last few months, you have been calling prominent officials of the Delhi government to your office and issuing directions related to work of their departments. I have also come to know that you are issuing directions to the officials on subjects that come under the purview of the elected government, without even keeping the ministers in the loop, and later officials of the LG secretariat are pressuring the bureaucrats to implement such orders,” Sisodia said in the letter, a copy of which was seen by HT.
The deputy CM “humbly requested” Baijal to desist from such “activities”. “Under the Constitution, the Delhi LG can take decisions only on police, land and public order,” Sisodia said, citing the Supreme Court order of July 4, 2018.
The LG’s office did not comment on the matter.
The four-page letter came a day after the Delhi Cabinet led by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal decided that a panel of government-appointed prosecutors will deal with the cases related to January 26 violence during farmers’ tractor rally against three farm laws passed last year, even as Baijal endorsed a panel of lawyers suggested by the Delhi Police.
The Delhi government has maintained that appointment of lawyers comes under their purview and that the LG can only give his opinion on the Delhi government’s decision in rarest of the rare cases.
Sisodia said that the “pattern” was observed by all Delhi ministers over the past three months, and that it coincides with the time when Parliament cleared the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in Lok Sabha in March.
On April 28, the Union ministry of home affairs notified the Act, effectively making the LG in-charge of the national capital. According to the amended law, the elected government will have to seek the opinion of the LG before any executive decision.
On April 29, after the notification by the Centre, the LG issued an order asking the Delhi government to seek opinion of the LG before the Cabinet or any of its ministers take any executive action with regard to matters related to land, police, law and order, subordinate legislations, granting of parole, Delhi finance commission, establishment or reconstitution of statutory bodies and matters specified under Rule 23 of the ‘Transaction of Business of the GNCTD Rules, 1993’.
Citing the Supreme Court verdict, Sisodia said the LG has no independent decision making powers and he is bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers. However, the deputy CM did not mention the GNCTD Act in his letter.
Sisodia described the LG as a “good-natured and well-meaning” person, saying he was writing the letter to him only because it concerned the preservation of democracy and the Constitution “at a time India is in the 75th year of its independence”.
“You (Baijal) can use your time in this post to be remembered as someone who was a good person but weakened the democracy, or you can strengthen democracy instead. People will then remember you as someone who did not buckle under BJP’s pressure and left the tenets of democracy stronger than before,” Sisodia wrote.
If the Centre-appointed governors and lieutenant governors sideline elected governments to take decision on all matters, it will be the end of democracy which was earned by our freedom fighters and ancestors after a long struggle and many sacrifices, he said.