LG recalls files from Delhi law department in latest flashpoint
Saxena recalled the 18 files related to courts and justice delivery due to an alleged delay in their clearance
Lieutenant governor (LG) VK Saxena on Thursday recalled 18 files from the law minister related to courts and justice delivery due to an alleged delay in their clearance, and asked for them to be submitted to him within three days.
In what is set to become a new flashpoint between the Delhi government and the LG’s office, Saxena invoked special provisions under rule 19(5) of Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR), 1993, which says the LG can call for papers relating to any or matter in any department from the secretary, who can simultaneously inform the minister-in-charge about the action taken.
A communication in this regard was sent by the LG secretariat to principal secretary (law and justice) Bharat Parashar, after a report submitted by him that mentioned that he had also written to law minister Kailash Gahlot to expeditiously decide on these files on November 13, but had got no response.
“The LG while recalling the files has expressed his serious view of the pendency of such large number of important proposals relating to court and judicial administration and pointed out that delays by the minister (law), was creating barriers in administration of justice in the Capital of the country,” said an official from LG secretariat.
The official said these 18 files include issues like proposals for the construction of the district court complex at Rohini, lawyers’ chamber at Rouse Avenue court, and a file on enhancement of allowances to retired chief justices and judges of the Delhi high court, among others. He added that one of the proposals — regarding the procurement of equipment for courts — is supposed to be discussed by a Supreme Court committee on Friday.
In response, the government said that it carries out judicial infrastructure work on priority.
“The AAP government has made the maximum investment on judicial infrastructure, nearly tripling the budget. The world-class court complexes were all created during the Arvind Kejriwal government’s rule itself at Karkardooma, Tis Hazari, Rouse Avenue as well as the high court premises,” a spokesperson said.
“Before the Kejriwal government came to power, meagre investment was done in judicial infrastructure. In 2013-14, ₹504 crore was spent on judicial infrastructure. The Kejriwal government hiked it — in 2015-16 ₹800 crore was spent on judicial infrastructure... In the current financial year too the government has given its nod for several projects related to judicial infrastructure. In future too we will give priority to judicial infrastructure even with limited powers,” he said.
Parashar had on December 4 written to Saxena and chief minister Kejriwal to flag a delay in clearing files, adding that it was affecting judicial infrastructure. The official did not respond to requests for comment.