Don’t route files through chief secretary, send them to minister-in-charge: Delhi govt to departments
The Delhi government has directed heads of all its departments to send files directly to the minister-in-charge and not route them through the chief secretary.
The orders, issued by all ministers of the Delhi government to their departments, cite rule 15 and 16 of the ‘Transaction of Business of Government of NCT of Delhi Rules 1993’ which states that all files need not be sent to the chief secretary. “The practice of marking files to the chief secretary does not find any mention in the TBR and must be discontinued. However, if any file relating to any proposal or matter in any department is requisitioned by the chief secretary … the secretary shall comply with such request,” the order issued by finance minister Manish Sisodia to principal secretary (finance) stated.
Officials, however, said that the order was “unnecessary” as all files were anyway not being sent to the chief secretary. They, however, said that the order will curtail the usual practice of sending important files to the chief secretary for seeking his guidance.
“On policy matters it is always wise to take benefit of the experience of the chief secretary. This will affect the quality of decision making as the chief secretary’s advice will now not be available in critical departmental matters. This decision is just to show the public that they (the political executive) have clipped the wings of the chief secretary after the apex court’s verdict,” a senior bureaucrat said.
The order issued by Sisodia further said that the chief secretary cannot give any views directly to officers on any proposal as the minister-in-charge of the department was primarily responsible for the disposal of the business pertaining to that department.
“It is hereby directed all matters, which require approval of the government beyond the delegated powers of the administrative secretary, shall be submitted directly to the minister-in-charge of the department,” the order dated July 13 said.
A senior official indicated that such a move was an example of “poor administrative ability of the AAP government”.
“It is fine that as per the TBR all files need not be routed through the chief secretary… but it also empowers the chief secretary to summon any file from any department and the officers will have to comply,”said another official on condition of anonymity.
Another official said that the order was a way to “intimidate” officers. “With such an order, the cushion of the chief secretary between the bureaucracy and the political executive will now be removed and the bureaucrats themselves will have to deal with the ministers,” the official added.