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LG refuses to give control of services to Delhi govt, Kejriwal cries foul

Kejriwal said Baijal had sought advice from the Ministry of Home Affairs and was told that services should not be given to the Delhi government

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Arvind Kejriwal, Lieutenant Governor, Anil Baijal
(R-L) Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Anil Baijal, and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said Lt Governor Anil Baijal had refused to give control of the services department to the city government, and claimed it was the first time in the country's history that the Central government was openly refusing to obey the apex court's order.

The LG's refusal will lead to "anarchy" in the country, Kejriwal told the media after a 25-minute meeting with Baijal, the first after his nine-day sit-in.

Following the Supreme Court verdict which clipped the powers of the LG, the bone of contention between the Delhi government and his office continues to be control over the services department.

Kejriwal said Baijal had sought advice from the Ministry of Home Affairs and was told that services should not be given to the Delhi government.

Hours after the Supreme Court's landmark judgement earlier this week, the Delhi government introduced a new system for transfer and postings of bureaucrats, making the chief minister the approving authority.

However, the services department refused to comply, saying the Supreme Court did not abolish the notification issued in 2015 which made the MHA the authority for transfers and postings.

"The Supreme Court said that except three subjects, police, land and public order, Delhi government will have executive power on other subjects. LG does not agree that control of services should be handed over to Delhi government.

"LG sought advice from that MHA which told him that services should not be given to Delhi government. It is the first time in the history of India that the Central government has openly refused to obey the SC's order...," Kejriwal told reporters after his 25-minute long meeting with Baijal.

The chief minister alleged that it was a "conspiracy" to "paralyse" the government.

"They are saying that the government has the responsibility of water, power, education but who will do this work? Officers who will be appointed by them," he said.

Kejriwal added that they are consulting lawyers on whether the LG's refusal to abide by the SC order will amount to contempt of court.

"We are deliberating upon the issue with lawyers. We are contemplating all options and no option is closed. After the Supreme Court order, the notification of May 2015, issued by MHA, does not exist," he said.

According to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, it is an attempt to "derail" the government's projects.

"If anyone wants to derail the government's project, he or she can do this through services department. Central government has its own services department but not Delhi government. Even the Constitution says that control of services department should be with the city government," he said.

Earlier in the day, Kejriwal had approved the doorstep delivery of rations, overruling "all objections" to the proposal, two days after the Supreme Court verdict that clipped the powers of the lieutenant governor.

The chief minister also directed the food department to immediately implement the plan.

Baijal had objected to the Delhi government's ambitious proposal of doorstep delivery of rations and asked the AAP dispensation to consult the Centre before executing it.

First Published: Fri, July 06 2018. 20:21 IST