‘Brazen assault’ on country’s constitutional principles: AAP
New Delhi: The ruling AAP on Saturday termed the Centre’s ordinance on transfer of bureaucrats in Delhi “unconstitutional” and a “brazen assault” on the democratic principles of the country.
Addressing a press conference, Delhi minister Atishi said the Centre deliberately chose to bring the ordinance at a time when the Supreme Court has closed for summer vacation.
Atishi claimed the ordinance shows Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “scared” of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the power of honest politics.
“In a late-night move that reeks of an attack on democracy and the Indian Constitution, the central government hastily introduced an ordinance aimed at undermining the power of the elected Delhi government. This audacious attempt to snatch away the authority granted to the Delhi government by the highest constitutional bench of India, the Supreme Court, is a brazen assault on the democratic principles that the country upholds,” she said.
Noting that this is “not the first instance” when the Centre has sought to “curtail” the power of the elected Kejriwal government, she went on to highlight previous instances.
In 2015, when the AAP government secured an overwhelming majority with public support, winning 68 out of 70 seats in Delhi, the BJP government issued a notification within three months in an endeavour to strip the elected Kejriwal government of its rightful power, she recalled.
She added that the Centre, through a notification from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), declared that the Kejriwal government does not have control over crucial services matters such as the transfer and postings of bureaucrats, or to take action against inefficient officers. According to the government, these powers resided with the central government, contravening the established order. “After a gruelling eight-year legal battle in the high court and Supreme Court, on May 11, the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court ruled against the Centre. The SC’s decision unequivocally affirmed that the power to govern lies with the Delhi government,” she said.
The Supreme Court relied on three key sections of the Indian Constitution to support its ruling — the principles of the federal structure of the Constitution, Article 239 (AA), and the accountability of bureaucrats towards the elected government.
“In line with the democratic principles enshrined in the Constitution, Article 239 AA outlines the responsibility of an elected government in Delhi’s Legislative Assembly to implement the will of the people. The accountability of bureaucrats towards the elected government is a fundamental constitutional principle,” Atishi explained.
Alleging that the Centre found it difficult to accept this reality, she said that this was done to halt the work of the Delhi government.
Asserting that the Centre is fully aware that this ordinance is unconstitutional and will undoubtedly be struck down by the Supreme Court, she noted that Section 3A of the ordinance claims that the elected government of Delhi, including the Delhi Legislative Assembly, holds no authority to pass any rules pertaining to the services department.
Senior AAP leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh also lashed out at the Centre over the ordinance, saying it does not want the Kejriwal government in Delhi to function.