Arvind Kejriwal meets Delhi L-G, says Centre not obeying Supreme Court order
Ties between Delhi lieutenant governor Anil Baijal and the Aam Aadmi Party government seemed headed for a thaw on Friday, but a statement by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal indicated that some differences -- including the jurisdiction over the services department -- are yet to be ironed out. Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia met Lt. Governor Anil Baijal seeking his cooperation in Delhi’s development and good governance on Friday, two days after the Supreme Court ruled that the central representative was bound by the constitution to listen to the national capital’s democratically elected government. “Met L-G today, Mr Anil Baijal refused to agree that services department has come under the elected government in Delhi. He said that the 2015 MHA order on services dept has not been quashed by the Supreme Court,” he told mediapersons. Kejriwal said that this is the first time in India’s history that the Central government had openly refused to obey the apex court’s order. The chief minister wondered why the Centre wanted to hold on to the department when several responsibilities in the national capital still remained unfulfilled. “You have services but you did not fill the post of education director. How can we bring reforms in education if there are so many vacancies? Had services been with us, we would have appointed a new official 15 days ahead to ensure efficiency,” he said. Baijal, however, said that he had assured Kejriwal that he would support the Delhi government. “Met Hon’ble CM @ArvindKejriwal & Hon’ble Dy. CM @msisodia. Assured them of my continued support & cooperation in the interest of good governance & overall development of Delhi as per the letter and spirit of Constitution,” Baijal tweeted soon after the meeting. Kejriwal said all efforts will be made to speed up other projects that were previously held up due to the government’s tussle with the lieutenant governor. “Within the powers that we have after the SC order, I have asked officials to expedite projects such as doorstep delivery of ration and Signature Bridge. The lieutenant governor told us there is no need to send these files to me. You can go ahead with the projects,” he elaborated. Kejriwal had warned Baijal and bureaucrats of the state government on Thursday that executive powers related to the services sector, specifically postings and transfers of civil servants, rests with the council of ministers and the lieutenant governor clearing any file relating to the subject would amount to contempt of court. In a four-page letter to the lieutenant governor, Kejriwal also said the government would no longer require his “concurrence” on any matter other than the reserved subjects of public order, police and land. Copies of the letter were released by the chief minister’s office.