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Outrage as Modi govt brings Ordinance for control over Delhi Services

The ordinance came after the apex court gave the Delhi government control in services matters, including transfer and posting of officers. Read More

Saturday May 20, 2023 11:52 AM, ummid.com with inputs from IANS

Outrage as Modi govt brings Ordinance for control over Delhi Services

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government in New Delhi Friday brought an ordinance to set up a National Capital Civil Service Authority whose chairperson will be Delhi Chief Minister, along with Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary Home, to make recommendations to the LG regarding matters concerning transfer posting, vigilance and other incidental matters.

The ordinance coming amid the ongoing row between the AAP government and the Lt Governor, gives sole power to latter saying, in case of difference of opinion, the decision of the LG shall be final, it holds.

The latest move by the Modi government has received with widespread criticism.

SC order then Ordinance

The ordinance came after the apex court gave the Delhi government control in services matters, including transfer and posting of officers.

On May 11, a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court ruled that it is ideal to hold that a democratically elected Delhi government should have control over its officers and the LG is bound by the advice of the elected government in everything other than public order, police, and land.

The top court stressed if the government is not able to control and hold to account the officers posted in its service, then its responsibility towards the legislature as well as the public is diluted.

According to the ordinance, the National Capital Civil Service Authority would statutorily balance the interest of the nation with the interest of Union Territory of Delhi in administration of the capital by giving purposeful meaning to the manifestation of democratic will of people reposed both in the Central government as well as the GNCTD.

The ordinance said all matters required to be decided by the authority shall be decided by majority of votes of the members present and voting and all recommendations of the authority shall be authenticated by the member secretary.

"The National Capital Civil Service Authority shall have the responsibility to recommend the transfers and postings of all the Group 'A' officers and officers of DANICS serving in the affairs of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi but not officers serving in connection with any subject matter, either fully or in part, connected with Entries 1, 2, and 18 of List II- State List of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, and Entries 64, 65 and 66 of List II- State List of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution in so far as they relate to the entries 1, 2, and 18, or any other subject matter which is connected therewith or incidental thereto, to the Lieutenant Governor...," said the ordinance.

"In case of difference of opinion, the decision of the Lieutenant Governor shall be final", said the ordinance.

The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023 said there is a need to promote the national interests without compromising on the democratic aspirations of the residents of Delhi.

"Murderer of Democracy"

The ruling AAP slammed the move terming the BJP "murderer of democracy".

Slamming the Central government, AAP Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said:

"The Centre has perpetrated fraud and treachery with the Constituion of the country and the Supreme Court order."

Minister Aatishi Marlena termed BJP "the murderer of the Constitution".

In a tweet in Hindi, she said:

"BJP is the murderer of the Constitution. The Ordinance brought by the Central government is contempt of the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court. The Modi government has brought this ordinance due to the fear of giving power to the Kejriwal government.

"Arvind Kejriwal must have been elected by the people of Delhi, given more than 90 per cent seats, but he will not run Delhi, Centre will run the Delhi government."

Congress leader and noted lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi also took a jibe at the government saying it is the act of a bad, poor and graceless loser.

In a tweet, Singhvi, who had represented the Delhi government in the Supreme Court, said:

"The new ordinance re NCT will have to be closely examined. But clearly, it is the act of a bad, poor and graceless loser. Doubtful if ctal principles can be diluted by ordinances or acts. Greater doubt whether parliament as a whole will at all approve it".

'Complete violation of Federalism'

AAP Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha slammed the government saying that it is complete violation of federalism, constitutional powers given to elected governments.

In a series of tweets, Chadha said:

"To overturn a well thought out, unanimous Constitution Bench judgment by a reckless political Ordinance, in complete violation of - Federalism: part of basic structure of Constitution, Constitutional Powers given Elected Governments, Principle of Accountability of Civil Services to Ministers and is not just Contempt of Court but also Contempt of the Electorate."

Delhi govt, L-G spar

Ahead of the Central government's move to bring an ordinance setting up an authority on service matters, the discontent between the Delhi government and the Lt. Governor grew further on Friday over the Supreme Court's verdict on the issue.

In a unanimous verdict, the Supreme Court, earlier this month ruled that the Delhi government has legislative and executive powers over services except for public order, police and land.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, after meeting L-G V.K. Saxena, claimed a "conspiracy" to overturn the ruling, while the L-G accused the AAP administration of disregarding rules and procedures.

The controversy intensified over the transfer of Services Secretary Ashish More, prompting separate meetings between Kejriwal and his ministers with the lieutenant governor on Friday evening.

Following his meeting with Saxena, the Chief Minister emphasised that the transfer of the services secretary is essential to implement further administrative changes.

While talking to reporters, Kejriwal expressed concerns about rumours suggesting that the central government may issue an ordinance to overturn the Supreme Court's verdict.

He hoped that these rumours were baseless and emphasised the need to respect the decision of the Constitution Bench.

He stated that if such an ordinance were to be passed, it would be a betrayal against the people of Delhi and the entire nation.

Prior to CM's meeting with L-G, five AAP government's Cabinet Ministers, Kailash Gahlot, Gopal Rai, Imran Hussain, Saurabh Bhardwaj and Atishi had to stage a dharna for one and a half hours outside the L-G Office, demanding an appointment with him.

Earlier in the day, Kejriwal had written a letter in response to the recent letter he received from Lt. Governor.

In his reply to the L-G, Kejriwal addressed the unparliamentary language and concerns raised in the letter, while emphasising the commitment of the Delhi government to the welfare of its citizens.

Expressing surprise at the accusatory tone of the letter, Kejriwal acknowledged the significance of the issues mentioned.

The Chief Minister also underlined the government's determination to undertake extensive work in Delhi, aiming to transform it into the foremost city in the world.

Kejriwal assured that concrete action will be taken to accomplish this vision, showcasing Delhi as a global leader.

Regarding the references made in the letter to Cabinet Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj, the Chief Minister expressed his disbelief, asserting the Minister's peaceful and amiable nature.

"However, in the event that Saurabh has said anything inappropriate, I suggest you address the matter directly with him, considering him as a younger brother," Kejriwal wrote.

Furthermore, the CM raised a pertinent question, questioning the need for such matters to become subjects of written correspondence between a Lt. Governor and the Chief Minister.

He emphasised the importance of focusing on the significant tasks at hand and appealed for Lt. Governor's blessings and cooperation in the ongoing efforts to serve the people of Delhi effectively.

In a growing bureaucratic standoff, Delhi Services Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj also expressed his displeasure over the lack of response from Saxena regarding the transfer of services secretary Ashish More.

"No communication has been received from the L-G's office in the past two days, prompting Bhardwaj to write a letter urgently requesting the clearance of the file," Bhardwaj claimed.

Highlighting the importance of the transfer, Bhardwaj emphasized that the government intends to implement several significant changes, making the appointment of a new secretary in the services department a crucial step.

The matter was initially raised by the minister on Thursday, and following the Civil Services Board (CSB) meeting held two days ago, the file was sent to L-G Saxena for final approval.

With the delay in receiving a response, Bhardwaj has now resorted to a formal letter, urging the L-G to promptly address the matter and expedite the clearance process.


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