Services Act a licence for officers to rebel against elected govt orders: CM

Services Act a licence for officers to rebel against elected govt orders: CM

Aam Aadmi Party leaders including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal slammed the GNCTD (Amendment) Act, 2023, as a licence for the bureaucrats to “openly rebel” against the orders of an elected government and defy ministers’ directions.

The sharp reaction came just after Services minister Atishi told a press conference that the principal secretary (finance) A C Verma refused to comply with her direction to depute a lawyer to file a petition in the Supreme Court challenging a High Court order against the Delhi government in a matter related to GST refund.

Citing Atishi’s allegations that after the chief secretary, the finance secretary has also refused to obey the order of the elected government, the chief minister said the Services Act (GNCTD, Amendment, Act, 2023) will “ruin” Delhi.

“Delhi Services Act gives license to officers to openly rebel against written orders of elected govt. And officers have started refusing to obey orders of elected Ministers. Can any state or country or institution run like this? This Act will ruin Delhi n (and) this is what BJP wants. Act needs to be struck down as soon as possible,” Kejriwal posted on X.

Atishi claimed that the fear of a “revolt” by the officers after the enforcement of Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) Amendment Act, 2023, seems to be coming true.

She alleged that efforts were on to scuttle the Delhi government’s functioning using the Services Act.

“What was said about the revolt of the officers seems to be coming true. After the Chief Secretary in Delhi, now the Finance Secretary has also written a 40-page letter refusing to obey the orders of the elected government,” Atishi alleged.

She said her predecessor Kailash Gahlot had in June directed filing a petition in the Supreme Court in the GST matter involving a refund value of around Rs 1 crore. She said she too issued a similar order on July 12.

“It was not any controversial matter, it was only a day-to-day matter. But from June 5 till date, the case has not been filed even on the request of the ministers. Now by sending a 40-page letter, the principal secretary of finance refuses to accept the order,” she said.

She said the finance secretary claimed the lawyer cannot be appointed by her but the Lieutenant Governor would do it. “Now they are saying that if the Delhi government goes to the court against the LG, then the LG will decide who will be the lawyer,” she said.

The minister also attacked the Centre questioning if officers were being asked to sabotage the elected government in Delhi.

“I want to ask again: Has the central government instructed the officers in Delhi to sabotage democracy and refuse to obey every order of the elected government? Does the matter of triple chain of accountability mentioned in the order of the Supreme Court have no importance for them?,” she asked.

Atishi, who holds several portfolios including Services and Vigilance in the Kejriwal government, had alleged earlier that Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar was not obeying her order concerning coordination among Delhi government departments and the National Capital Civil Services Authority, NCCSA.

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