Delhi govt, L-G lock horns over Services verdict
New Delhi: Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena on Friday approved the AAP government’s proposal to assign the additional charge of the Services department to IAS officer A K Singh, hours after a meeting with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
“L-G has approved the proposal sent by the chief minister to assign additional charge of the Services department to AK Singh, IAS AGMUT 1995,” said a statement from L-G’s office.
Hours after the top court verdict, Services minister Saurabh Bharadwaj had removed More and directed the appointment of Singh as the new secretary.
Earlier in the day, the Delhi government and the lieutenant governor locked horns over the Supreme Court verdict on services matters, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleging a “conspiracy” to overturn the ruling and LG V K Saxena accusing the AAP dispensation of disregarding rules and procedure.
Amid the escalating row over the transfer of Services Secretary Ashish More, Kejriwal and his ministers met the lieutenant governor separately Friday evening.
After his meeting with Saxena, the chief minister said the transfer of the services secretary is necessary to carry out further administrative changes.
“There is widespread talk of the Centre bringing an ordinance to overturn the SC verdict. I hope that these are complete rumours and there is no truth in them. It will be a great betrayal against the people of Delhi and the country if this happens. Everyone should respect the verdict of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court,” he told reporters.
Kejriwal in a tweet questioned why the L-G was “not obeying” the SC order.
“Why is L-G sir not obeying the SC order? Why hasn’t the file pertaining to the Services Secretary been signed for two days? It is being said that the Centre is going to reverse the SC order by bringing an ordinance next week? “Is the Centre conspiring to overturn the SC order? Is L-G sir waiting for the ordinance and that’s why he is not signing the file?” Kejriwal asked in a tweet in Hindi.
Before his meeting, Kejriwal’s five ministers also met Saxena to request him to follow the apex court order that gives the AAP government control over the bureaucracy.
After the meeting, Education minister Atishi said that the L-G has assured them of signing the file on the transfer of the services secretary, saying that he will respect the SC verdict.
She claimed that the five ministers had to wait for one-and-a-half hours outside the L-G office to meet Saxena.
The L-G office said that the ministers reached there without any prior appointment.
Continuing their onslaught of attacks on each other, Delhi L-G V K Saxena wrote to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal stating that the past few days in Delhi have been “one of the those gloomy phases of governance in national Capital where the organised, structured and specialised administrative machinery, is yet again facing the brunt of high handedness of the political executive.”
CM Kejriwal hit back at the L-G by stating that the language of the letter is Tu-Tu Main-Main and the essence of the letter is — “Why did you say this to me that day, why did I say this to you.”
The L-G wrote to Kejriwal alleging “unconstitutional brazenness, intimidation and disregard of rules and procedures” by the AAP government following the Supreme Court verdict on services matters. “I write to you to bring to your notice the unconstitutional brazenness, intimidation and disregard of rules and procedures being indulged into by your government and its ministers, especially...(Services) Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj, ever since the Constitution Bench judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 11.05.2023,” Saxena’s letter read. Replying to Saxena’s letter, CM Kejriwal said he was “shocked” by its language and the issues raised through it, and added it smacked of “bickering”. In his response, Kejriwal said he cannot believe the lieutenant governor’s words against Bharadwaj. Bharadwaj a person having “such calm and congenial nature” and yet if he indeed said anything Saxena could summon him and upbraid him as he was like his younger brother, Kejriwal said.
Meanwhile, More, who was removed by the Kejriwal government, complained to the chief secretary, accusing Bharadwaj of having “personal vengeance” against him, and threatening “to ruin his life”.
In an incident report, More alleged that the minister threatened him saying, “I will ruin your life. I am a resident of Chirag Dilli” and asked for security in view of the “serious threat”. Bharadwaj, the MLA from Greater Kailash, resides in Chirag Delhi. In his letter to Kejriwal, the L-G cited alleged misbehaviour of his
minister with More. In his press conference during the day, Bharadwaj said that after the SC verdict, the services secretary was directed to be transferred and the file for it was sent to the L-G on May 17.