New Delhi: There have been several instances where Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal faced off with Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and his successor Anil Baijal.
One must understand that a Union Territory by definition is centrally administered. All Union Territories are administered through various directives from union Home Ministry. Some Union Territories have legislative assembly and some do not. Delhi is a Union Territory with a legislative assembly.
Land, police and public order fall in the domain of the Centre, and Delhi legislative assembly cannot make laws with regard to these subjects.
Kejriwal staged a dharna against Lt Gov Jung demanding Delhi police be put under state government.
“The control of Delhi police should immediately be transferred to Delhi government without any delay. It is the government of Delhi which has been voted to power by the people to run the state government. If any crime takes place in Delhi, people question the Delhi government rather than questioning the union home minister,” Kejriwal had said.
Delhi government complained in High Court that the union Home Ministry’s May 21 notification had made it “virtually impossible for a democratically-elected government to carry out its day-to-day administrative functions and responsibilities”.
The trigger for it came in the form of an earlier order by a single judge of the Delhi High Court calling the Home Ministry’s May 21 notification “suspect” for giving the Lieutenant Governor absolute powers over appointments, postings and transfers of senior officials as well as matters relating to the police and public order.
The notification also denied Delhi government’s Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) power to probe and prosecute central government employees for corruption.
Kejriwal lashed out at the Centre, stating that its notification that gave more powers to Lieutenant Governor encouraged corruption and was unconstitutional.
Later the Delhi state assembly passed a resolution against Home Ministry’s notification which gave Jung a free hand in appointing senior bureaucrats as well as matters relating to police and public order, and asked officers to ignore it and work without fear.
Lt Gov Jung appointed Alok Kumar, a 2000-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, as additional commissioner of ACB. He replaced senior ACB officer SS Yadav.
Yadav’s transfer was a setback for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, which had repeatedly asked for control of ACB. The AAP government was at loggerheads with the Lieutenant Governor after MK Meena was appointed chief of ACB.
The government then accused the Centre of trying to ‘hijack’ the anti-corruption agency. While Meena was in-charge of ACB, the AAP government had issued an order to route every file pertaining to the agency through Yadav.
Lt Gov Baijal rejected Kejriwal’s proposal to award a compensation of Rs10 million to the family of an ex-serviceman who committed suicide over non-implementation of central government’s One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme.
“This specific case does not fall within the parameters of the scheme for grant of ex gratia payment i.e. death occurring in the discharge of official duty. Therefore, while I fully sympathise with the family of Subedar (Retd) Late Ram Kishen Grewal, I am not able to agree to the proposal for payment of ex gratia relief in this case,” Baijal had said in the file noting.
Later, the state government granted status of martyr to Grewal.
Kejriwal and three of his cabinet colleagues staged a nine-day sit-in dharna at the visitor’s room of the Lieutenant Governor’s office for nine days. Their demand was for Lieutenant Governor to intervene and ask bureaucrats to resume normal work and meet ministers.
According to the chief minister, the bureaucrats were on strike after an alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash by Kejriwal and some of his ministers in February this year.
However, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Officers’ Association denied they were on strike and released photographs that purportedly showed them working in offices inside the Delhi secretariat. The Lieutenant Governor refused to intervene in the matter.