Kejriwal’s administration should avoid confrontation and win back trust of officials
GN Bureau | May 20, 2015
Nothing can escape without consequences and people in power pay more than the aam aadmi. As war in Delhi’s state secretariat heats up, deep distrust is building up among the officials.
Forced to stem storm of revolt and non-cooperation that will manifest soon, the AAP leadership is going to meet Delhi government’s senior bureaucrats on Wednesday. Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia is likely chair the meeting of the department heads to discuss flow of work and read the rule book under which Delhi is administered.
The officials have already had a taste of rule book early this week as Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal issued an order to department heads to apprise him or the minister concerned about any oral or written direction from the lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung or his office before following them.
The order was issued amid confrontation between Kejriwal and Jung over appointments of top bureaucrats in Delhi.
"To ensure smooth functioning of day-to-day affairs of our government in accordance with the Constitution of India, the government of NCT of Delhi Act and Transaction of Business of the Delhi government it is hereby ordered that any direction or order, whether oral or written, received from honourable LG or his office to the Chief Secretary or any administrative Secretary, shall first be submitted by the concerned administrative Secretary/Chief Secretary on the file to the Minister in charge and the Chief Minister for a decision," the order said.
The war has now reached the Rashtrapati Bhavan, with Kejriwal accusing Jung of interfering in the working of his elected government. Both Kejriwal and Jung met president Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday to present their versions.
This call to the president’s office became more than a necessity as at least a dozen senior officers working with the Delhi Government have approached the home ministry to get postings outside the Capital as the row over appointment of an acting chief secretary continues.
Many officials of both IAS and DANICS (Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands) cadre are keen to get postings in any other place under the jurisdiction of the Union Territory Cadre or in the central deputation. The union home ministry controls the UT cadre IAS and DANICS officers.
The officers were apparently not able to adjust with the style of functioning of the Aam Aadmi Party-led (AAP) government and hence wanted to leave the city administration.
Several UT-Cadre officials, posted elsewhere in the country, went on social media to express what they said was relief at the fact that they were not currently posted in the capital.
While the tussle between the chief minister and the LG persists, legal experts are divided on which of the authorities has the final say.
Supreme sourt lawyers Rajeev Dhawan and Indira Jaising, whose opinion Kejriwal had sought, accused Jung of exceeding his authority and turning the entire relationship between himself and council of ministers on its head to jeopardise democracy and the Constitution.
However, constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap says that Delhi being a Union Territory, the LG is the "real administrator" who has overriding powers in this regard and the Chief Minister and his council of ministers can only aid and advice him.
Meanwhile, people from the Northeast community on Tuesday came out in support of Shakuntala Gamlin. They staged a protest outside the Delhi Secretariat and later handed over a memorandum to Kejriwal.
Protesters blamed Kejriwal of being “partial” to the woman IAS officer from North-East. “First government recommended her name and later objected to her appointment and then accused her of favouring power companies. The chief minister should publically apologise to her,” a protestor said.
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