New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday urged the ruling BJP dispensation at the Centre to allow elected government in Indian states to function smoothly amid his ongoing power tussle with Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena. the AAP chief took to Twitter and tweeted,”Elected govts should be allowed to function.”. Along with his tweet, the Delhi CM also shared a newspaper report and noted that “obstructing elected governments from doing their job for petty partisan gains is bad for the people, democracy and the Constitution.”
L-G Vs AAP over Constitutional supremacy
Kejriwal is scheduled to meet Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena on Friday, amidst a tussle between the two over the control of power in the national capital. The meeting is scheduled to be held at the LG Secretariat this afternoon. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday alleged that the BJP has “unconstitutional control” over the officers of the Delhi Government through the Centre. He also cited as “unconstitutional control” the notice sent by the Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) to Aam Aadmi Party national convenor Arvind Kejriwal for recovery of Rs 163.61 crore from his party.
The DIP had on Wednesday served the recovery notice on AAP national convenor giving it a total of 10 days to deposit Rs 163.61 crore for violating the Supreme Court-mandated guidelines in publishing political advertisements and thus costing the public exchequer.
Sisodia said that according to the notice, Rs 163.61 crore will be recovered for advertisements given by the AAP government in 2016-17. Earlier on Thursday, L-G Saxena declined to give approval to the proposed training of primary teaching in-charges and educators of the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) in Finland and asked the department to provide a cost-benefit analysis in tangible terms.
Row over AAP political advertisements
Delhi Government has condemned this move and urged the LG to give approval. The SCERT has planned to send two groups of 30 primary in-charges at Jyvaskyla University in Finland in December 2022 and March 2023. It is a 5-day training program for primary in-charges of Delhi government schools and teacher educators of SCERT.
Deputy CM Sisodia said that the restrictions on such training by the Lieutenant Governor is an attack on education. While tweeting about the refusal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “We have been sending Delhi government school teachers abroad for training, it has contributed greatly to Delhi Education Revolution; it is not right to stop them from going for training abroad. “This week the LG and Chief Minister have been writing to each other with various allegations and counter-allegations. On Monday LG Saxena wrote to Kejriwal stating that he appreciates the fact that the chief minister has started taking governance in the city seriously.
The L-G wrote, “I am in receipt of several letters from you over the past few days. At the outset, I would like to express my appreciation for the fact that you have started taking governance in the city seriously and getting into the intricacies of Constitutional provisions, Statutes and Acts that outline the multi-layered scheme of administration in the National Capital Territory of Delhi.”
He further said that the provisions governing administration in Delhi emanate out of severe deliberations in the Constituent Assembly, State Reorganization Commission and the Parliament of India, apart from having been clearly interpreted by the Supreme Court of India on several occasions.
“While the same is amply clear for any practitioner of Statecraft, lawyer, scholar as indeed a common citizen concerned with it, for the sake of ample clarity, I would like to invite you for a meeting where we could discuss issues threadbare,” LG further wrote.
Kejriwal had after the clash at the first meeting of the newly elected House of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi on January 7, questioned LG over the `conflict of powers` and sought clarification over his official position on the term “LG/Administrator” used in the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act and said that the elected government (PM, CMs )across India will become irrelevant if `Administrator` is defined as the president or governor.
To discuss all these issues, LG invited chief minister to a meeting. LG Saxena wrote, “We used to meet regularly till October 2022, when you expressed your inability to meet due to your preoccupation with State Assembly and Municipal Elections. Now, that the same is over, it will be in the fitness of things that such meetings are resumed in the interest of consciously deliberative and conflict-free governance of the City, in the interest of its people. Your office may accordingly fix up any mutually convenient meeting date, which I am sure will lead to broader clarity.”
While accepting the meeting invitation, CM Kejriwal wrote, “thank you for inviting me for discussions. I will definitely come. I will fix up a convenient time with your office.”
“An important discussion has started in the last few days, which has critical bearings on Indian democracy. I would urge you to kindly make your stand on those issues public. When your good self unilaterally appointed 10 aldermen, presiding officer and the Haj Committee bypassing elected govt. and directly getting the officers to issues necessary notifications, there was strong public criticism, CM wrote reiterating the previous issues.”
“A statement was issued by your office on January 7 in which you admitted having taken all those actions unilaterally bypassing the govt. However, you justified your actions by saying that in all those Acts and provisions, it was written that “Administrator/LG shall appoint….” or the Act defined govt. as “Administrator/LG”, therefore, those Acts gave you the powers to act eo- nominee,” CM wrote.
He further added, “In my letter on the same date, which was made public to take this debate forward, I had requested you to kindly make you stand public whether this was your position that from now onwards, on all those subjects where the law uses the words “Administrator/LG”, elected govt. would be bypassed/ignored and Hon`ble LG would directly deal with the officers and directly run those departments? ” The CM in his letter demanded a public discussion on several issues.
For instance, all laws and Acts related to electricity, health, water, education etc – define govt. as “Administrator/LG”. So, does it mean that from now on, the power department, education department, health department, water department etc – all these will be directly run by you? Then what would the elected govt? do sir? Won`t that be contrary to all SC judgements where it has been repeatedly said that LG is bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers on all transferred subjects?” Kejriwal wrote.
He wrote, “Whereas we could discuss all these issues privately over tea, however, these questions are very critical for the future of Delhi and the whole country. Therefore, a public discussion on this issue will be useful”.
(With ANI Inputs)