LG plays hardball, says 'services' still outside purview of AAP govt, Kejriwal seeks to meet Rajnath Singh

LG plays hardball, says
Highlights

The Home Ministrys 2015 notification that services falls outside the purview of the Delhi Legislative Assembly continues to be valid, Lt Governor Anil Baijal said today Shortly after that, Arvind Kejirwal said that he has sought an interview with Rajnath Singh to ask him to follow SC verdict

New Delhi: The Home Ministry's 2015 notification that 'services' falls outside the purview of the Delhi Legislative Assembly continues to be valid, Lt Governor Anil Baijal said today. Shortly after that, Arvind Kejirwal said that he has sought an interview with Rajnath Singh to ask him to follow SC verdict.

Baijal's statement came after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed earlier in the day that the LG had refused to give control of the services department to the city government. In a letter to Kejriwal, Baijal pointed to a 2015 Ministry of Home Affairs notification issuing "Presidential directions" under Article 239 and 239AA of the Constitution. It said services' falls outside the purview of the Legislative Assembly of the NCT of Delhi and consequently the government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi will have no executive powers in relation to services'.

"The said notification was also upheld by the High Court of Delhi in its judgement on August 4, 2016. "In the wake of the judgement of the learned Constitutional Bench of Supreme Court, the MHA has advised that as per concluding paras of judgement, the nine appeals including the one relating to Services' shall be taken up by the learned regular Bench and the MHA notification dated 21.05.2015 continue to be valid," the letter said.

Kejriwal claimed it was the first time in the country's history that the Central government had openly refused to obey the apex court's order. Addressing the media after a 25-minute meeting with Baijal, the first after his nine-day sit-in, Kejriwal said his refusal will lead to "anarchy" in the country.

Kejriwal said Baijal had sought advice from the Ministry of Home Affairs and was told that services should not be given to the Delhi government. Hours after the Supreme Court's landmark judgement earlier this week, the Delhi government introduced a new system for transfer and postings of bureaucrats, making the chief minister the approving authority. However, the services department refused to comply, saying the Supreme Court did not abolish the notification issued in 2015 which made the MHA the authority for transfers and postings.

"The Supreme Court said that except three subjects, police, land and public order, Delhi government will have executive power on other subjects. LG does not agree that control of services should be handed over to Delhi government. "LG sought advice from that MHA which told him that services should not be given to Delhi government. It is the first time in the history of India that the Central government has openly refused to obey the SC's order...," Kejriwal told reporters after his 25-minute long meeting with Baijal.

The chief minister alleged that it was a "conspiracy" to "paralyse" the government. "They are saying that the government has the responsibility of water, power, education but who will do this work? Officers who will be appointed by them," he said. Kejriwal added that they are consulting lawyers on whether the LG's refusal to abide by the SC order will amount to contempt of court.

"We are deliberating upon the issue with lawyers. We are contemplating all options and no option is closed. After the Supreme Court order, the notification of May 2015, issued by MHA, does not exist," he said. According to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, it is an attempt to "derail" the government's projects. "If anyone wants to derail the government's project, he or she can do this through services department. Central government has its own services department but not Delhi government. Even the Constitution says that control of services department should be with the city government," he said.

Earlier in the day, Kejriwal had approved the doorstep delivery of rations, overruling "all objections" to the proposal, two days after the Supreme Court verdict that clipped the powers of the lieutenant governor. The chief minister also directed the food department to immediately implement the plan. Baijal had objected to the Delhi government's ambitious proposal of doorstep delivery of rations and asked the AAP dispensation to consult the Centre before executing it.

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