LG a figurehead, except for police, public order, land: Govt tells HC
The submission was made before a Bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath by senior advocate Dayan Krishnan during the hearing of petitions on the powers of the LG, Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) as well as the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) set up by the Delhi government to probe into the alleged CNG fitness scam. “Except for the three exceptions (public order, police and land), LG is only a figurehead,” Krishnan <g data-gr-id="40">said,</g> while referring to the Constitution.
He added under the Constitution, aid and advice by <g data-gr-id="46">council</g> of ministers means the LG or Governor “was bound” by their decision except where he has discretionary powers. While one of the petitions has been filed by the Delhi government, challenging the Centre’s notifications on the powers of the ACB and LG, others – including one by the Centre – have been filed against setting up of the CoI.
The city government has also challenged a September 17 memorandum issued by LG Najeeb Jung, directing all officers not to follow the AAP government’s orders, which were declared “null and void” by the Centre. The memorandum has also stated that officers would face strict action for non-compliance with the LG’s order.
The court had on Wednesday decided to club all matters and carry out regular hearing on the issues. It had also directed the Centre and the Delhi government, in the interim, to not precipitate matters by taking “coercive steps” against each other and their officials in connection with the issues raised in the petitions.
The court had directed the Centre not to take any coercive steps with regard to the September 17 memorandum and had restrained the government from taking any such steps in connection with the CoI proceedings in the CNG fitness scam.
The AAP government had by way of an August 11 order appointed Justice (Retd) SN Agarwal, a former judge of Delhi and Madhya Pradesh High Courts, as a one-man probe panel to go into all aspects of the award of work relating to CNG fitness certificates in the transport department of Delhi, in which number of officials of the erstwhile Sheila Dikshit government are under the scanner.
Apart from the August 11 order, the Centre has challenged the September 11 decision of the Delhi government-appointed CoI, which had issued a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against ACB chief MK Meena, who was appointed by the LG.
The CoI, appointed to probe into the multi-crore CNG scam, had directed the attachment of 30% of Meena’s salary till records pertaining to the inquiry conducted by the ACB were presented to the probe panel. With this interim order, the stay on NBW against Meena, as granted by the court on September 15 will also continue till a final decision is arrived at on the pending petitions.
The CNG scam had surfaced in 2012 when the ACB found that the Delhi government had lost over Rs 100 crore by awarding a contract to operate and maintain certification of CNG vehicles at the transport authority in Burari to ESP India Pvt Ltd, instead of ESP USA.