‘COURTS’ TO HEAR CENTRE AND AAP TODAY: THE ONLY LOGICAL WAY OUT

So, it is happening now and today is the day when the most logical phase of ‘politically’ motivated war begins.

Day before yesterday, the Union Home Ministry (MHA) filed a plea in the Supreme Court against May 25 Delhi High court order denying bail to a Delhi Police constable arrested by the Delhi’s Anti-corruption Bureau and calling the notification issued by the Union Home Ministry ‘suspect’ in the process.

The Supreme Court is to hear it today.

Yesterday, the Aam Aadmi Party moved Delhi High Court against the May 21 gazette notification of MHA that backed the Lieutenant-Governor. The notification was issued after interpretation of laws governing Delhi (including the Indian Constitution) and told us that bureaucratic appointments in Delhi were the exclusive domain of the L-G and also that the Delhi ACB could not take cognizance of offences committed by the Central Government employees.

The Delhi High Court is to hear it today.

Let’s see if any observation or order comes today. Or there are chances that the issue requires more hearing(s).

Let’s see if further dates are required (that is a valid possibility in this issue) and court refers the issue to the constitutional experts. Let’s see if Delhi High Court says it would wait for the Supreme Court hearing the matter first as the AAP has filed the plea against the whole MHA notification. Simultaneously, the AAP has also filed a caveat in the Supreme Court to hear its stand before passing any order.

Now, the apex court will decide jurisdiction of the ACB on the Centre’s plea. In doing so, it will certainly interpret and lay down the constitutional norms. The Centre has moved the SC with a plea demanding overturning the High Court’s order on ACB reiterating the stand taken in the MHA notification.

But also, as the High Court is to hear a plea against the whole notification including the ACB part, alternatively, the Supreme Court may ask the High Court to interpret the constitutional validity of the notification first.

Let’s wish courts are here on the same page here.

If it comes out to be what Kejriwal is trying to prove, we will see an even more aggressive Kejriwal on the whole issue. On the other hand, anything contrary would force him to reconsider his moves. And the possible responses would include playing ‘victim’ card again, like he did during the campaigning phase this time, readily apologizing for ‘deserting Delhi in just 49 days’ during his first term – the 49 days that now find a proud mention on the AAP website for achievements accrued then.

Who is the boss in Delhi in the ongoing CV Vs L-G row can be decided only by a court because the kind of politics Kejriwal has displayed after taking over the chief minister’s office on February 14 this year, he would not accept any interpretation by the Centre, even if it comes through the President.

And since it is in ‘courts’ now – in country’s apex court and in Delhi’s top court – its concluding part begins today.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

KEJRIWAL’S WORDS EPITOMIZE SPECIAL SESSION OF DELHI ASSEMBLY

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s words epitomized the two day special session of Delhi assembly that ended today.

His concluding speech (or parting shot) captured the essence with which the special session was called.

He challenged the Central government, that is led by Narendra Modi of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) on interfering in affairs of the Delhi government and warned it on ‘trying to take over Delhi through the Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung’.

The two day assembly session on May 26 and 27 was a confrontationist response of Kejriwals’s attitude on the notification issued by Ministry of Home Affairs on May 21. The notifications makes bureaucratic appointment an exclusive domain of the L-G and also bars the Delhi Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB) from taking cognizance against the Central Government employees.

Scathing, even unparliamentary words were used against the L-G. He was blamed to run to save his post by indulging in activities against the Delhi government. Centre was again and again blamed for ‘running Delhi by proxy’ after its humiliating electoral loss that reduced the largest party of December 2013 assembly polls to just three seats in February 2015. A demand was made to give the Delhi assembly powers to ‘impeach’ the L-G. Resolutions against the Centre were passed. Its ministers including Narendra Modi were targeted. An AAP MLA tore the MHA notification.

Delhi High Court’s observation that called the notification ‘suspect’ while rejecting bail to a Delhi Police constable booked by the ACB was quoted behind the logic and constitutional interpretation given by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders.

To sum up, Arvind Kejriwal, with his concluding remarks, refused to obey the MHA notification. He had done so already with his many defying acts including the one of transfer of officials a day ago without the informing the L-G. He chose the assembly for his political power display. And he chose the Delhi assembly to further his political message.

He said it was not a constitutional crisis but was a political one, created by the Centre. He said the Delhi assembly could take care of the salary heads of bureaucrats under it and they should discharge their duties without any fear.

Now, we cannot say whom they are, the bureaucrats, repulsive of – Kejriwal or the Centre. And going by the conduct of Kejriwal and his government in the Delhi, he is to carry the blame for it.

The row that began with Shakuntala Gamlin’s appointment as Delhi’s acting chief secretary saw heads of other civil services officials roll in an ugly public display. IAS officers have held two meetings since then and reports say they are not happy with the situation and want a solution at the earliest. But from the developments so far, we can say, it is not the Centre, but the state government IAS officers are miffed at.

And while saying so, we did not get any indications that he was going to the court the next morning against the MHA notification. He said he would oppose it (and the Centre) come what may but he did not give us any hint about the simplest and the most logical outcome of the logjam – the court interpretation of the constructional provisions and other laws governing Delhi.

Given the kind of stuff Kejriwal is made up of, he would not accept any interpretation by the Centre, even if it comes through the President.

And given the politics involved in interpretation of constitutional provisions, he would love to drag it as far as possible. After all, it would give him a chance to divert attention from his unfulfilled promises and a shabby governance so far (in his 100 days). Yes, he has been a big letdown for Delhi and for those who went for the political experiment called the AAP.

Let’s see how long the issue lasts constitutionally?

The Home Ministry filed an SLP (Special Leave Petition) in the Supreme Court today against the Delhi High Court order of May 25 denying bail to the constable. It has come quickly even if we were expecting the move from stakeholders.

Now, the apex court will decide jurisdiction of the ACB. In doing so, it will certainly interpret and lay down the constitutional norms. If it comes out to be what Kejriwal is trying to prove, we will see an even more aggressive Kejriwal on the whole issue. On the other hand, anything contrary would force him to reconsider his moves. And the possible responses would include playing ‘victimization’ card.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

LG VS CM: CRISIS DEEPENS FURTHER

The crisis further deepens.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is quoting senior lawyers and constitutional experts K. K. Venugopal and Gopal Subramaniam on Ministry of Home Affairs’s (MHA) gazette notification calling it an unconstitutional act by the Government of India.

Former solicitor general of India is of the view that Kejriwal and his cabinet has legitimate rights to appoints ‘civil servants’ and functionaries for their own government, against the MHA notification that makes it the exclusive domain of the Lieutenant-Governor. “Such an exercise may be assailed in a court of law as a fraud on the Constitution or a colourable exercise of authority…It singularly lacks propriety when the President is still seized with the question. It is illegal and unconstitutional; and presumably, it has been issued without the requisite presidential approval” – the Times of India quoted him saying.

His views were echoed by senior lawyer K. K. Venugopal. He, too, termed the MHA notification unconstitutional and ‘void’. He backed Arvind Kejriwal on Shakuntala Gamlin’s appointment.

The latest controversy in ‘chief minister Vs lieutenant-governor’ story began with the appointment of Shakuntala Gamlin as the acting chief secretary of Delhi as Delhi’s K. K. Sharma was on a personal leave for 10 days.

Gamlin wrote to the L-G that the Delhi government was sitting on the appointment even if she completed all requirements and norms. She even figured in the list sent to the L-G by the deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.

Reasons best known to Kejriwal, though he officially said that he didn’t like Gamlin as she was backing corporate interests and he even wanted to remove her from the office of the power secretary, made the Delhi government sat on the file for three days before her appointment by the L-G.

The row that began with Shakuntala Gamlin’s appointment saw heads of other civil services officials roll in an ugly public display. Subsequently, officers held a meeting. Both, the Delhi CM and the Delhi L-G met the President separately. Kejriwal tried to drag in the Union government. Though Narendra Modi has not, so far, spoken on the issue, even if Kejriwal has blamed his government for ‘running Delhi by proxy’, his Home Ministry under Rajnath Singh, has issued a notification backing the L-G.

The MHA notification says the power to appoint the civil servants rests with the L-G and consulting the CM depends on the L-G’s discretion. The notification also says the Anti-corruption Branch (ACB) of the Delhi government cannot take cognizance of offences committed by the central government employees.

And Kejriwal is not going to take it. In fact, the notification has given him another opportunity to squeeze in the political mileage. The party met today and has called a special session of the Delhi assembly on May 26 and 27 to further discuss the notification.

So far, we have not heard a written reply by the President. Constitutional experts are divided over the issue. Those consulted by the AAP support the party’s stand. There are others including Subhash Kashyap who support the stand taken by the L-G.

The MHA notification has further exacerbated the issue. And it is expected to figure prominently in the public dialogue organized tomorrow at Connaught Place on completion of 100 days of Kejriwal government in Delhi.

The row, effectively, has been converted into a political slugfest now.

Kejriwal terms the notification a ‘nervous’ move by the Union government. Manish Sisodia is alleging a section of officers behind it who were behind the ‘transfer-posting’ industry that the AAP government shut down. The AAP leaders and spokespersons are seeing ‘collusion’ behind the latest row. They are still trying to make it ‘Modi Vs Kejriwal’. They are asking the government the constitutional provisions that allow sweeping powers to the L-G in the case.

On his part, Najeeb Jung has not spoken much, apart from issuing written missives. Rajnath Singh said Kejriwal and Jung should sit together and resolve the issue. Arun Jaitley and other BJP leaders have blamed the AAP for high handedness, constitutional impropriety and trying to suppress the laws that govern Delhi.

So, what does the Constitution of India and related laws say?

It is to be seen which third party response the AAP would accept – the President’s or the court’s. Let’s see if the President comes up with a written response on the whole issue and let’s see if that is acceptable to the parties involved, now that there central government is also involved.

Or is it heading to the legal opinion of the court as the last resort?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

MHA NOTIFICATION ON DELHI: IT MAY EXACERBATE THE SITUATION EVEN MORE

As was being expected last evening, the Centre came with a notification backing the Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung in the latest episode of the war between him and the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The notification, dated May 21, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, to which the Delhi L-G reports, said the L-G was right in exercising his powers and he did not violate the Constitutional norms.

The gazette notification by the MHA says, “It is clear that the National Capital Territory of Delhi does not have its own State Public Services. Thus ‘Services’ will fall within this category.”

The notification further says, “Subject to his control and further orders, the Lieutenant-Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, shall in respect of matters connected with ‘Public Order’, ‘Police’, ‘Land’ and ‘Services’ as stated hereinabove, exercise the powers and discharge the functions of the Central Government, to the extent delegated to him from time to time by the President.”

And the notification says it is the discretion of the L-G to consult the CM ‘in regard to the matter of Services’. In other words, if he doesn’t feel it fit to consult the CM in case of any bureaucratic appointment, the CM cannot question him.

The notification, therefore, absolves the Delhi L-G in the ongoing row and puts the onus of the whole controversy on the Delhi Government.

Obviously, Kejriwal is not going to accept it.

So, on a day, when the Centre backed the L-G and MHA’s notification spoke on the L-G’s behalf, Kejriwal targeted the Modi government on the whole issue, alleging it of running Delhi by proxy. He tweeted, “BJP first lost Del elections. Today’s notification shows BJP’s nervousness abt our anti-corruption efforts. BJP again lost today”.

He equaled Modi’s PMO with London and Najeeb Jung as the Viceroy who was taking orders from the PMO to run Delhi. Clearly, apart from reacting to the step taken by the Centre, it was also yet another attempt to convert this whole episode into a ‘Modi Vs Kejriwal’ fight. Now, with a changed and mainstreamed Kejriwal, that is not going to happen. Majority of those who voted for him take his words with ‘fistfuls of salt’ now. And within 100 days only.

And it also tells us the war (or the latest letter war) is not over yet. Those who know Kejriwal (and obviously everyone knows him now), the MHA notification may even exacerbate it.

After all, apart from hitting him on the core issue, it also says that the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Delhi Government, an important unit in the ‘Kejriwal’ scheme of things, cannot ‘take cognizance of offences under against officers, employees and functionaries of the Central Government’.

Related posts:
DELHI: WE ALL ARE FEELING ‘OBFUSCATED’ BY THIS VITIATING ATMOSPHERE
WHO IS MORE POWERFUL – DELHI L-G OR DELHI CM?
L-G VS CM: HOPE, ATTITUDINAL AIRS WILL SEE SOME REVERSAL FROM TOMORROW
KEJRIWAL IS DOING MANY THINGS. KEJRIWAL IS NOT DOING ANYTHING.
KEJRIWAL’S CONFRONTATIONAL ATTITUDE

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

DELHI: WE ALL ARE FEELING ‘OBFUSCATED’ BY THIS VITIATING ATMOSPHERE

We all are feeling ‘obfuscated’ by this vitiating atmosphere. Some of us had faintly, vaguely hoped that they would hesitate in taking the matter further after meeting Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India.

Yes, we had no way to know what transpired in two meetings on May 19, even if Manish Sisodia, the deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, expressed satisfaction and called a meeting of all secretaries last morning.

But we hoped the situation would not be so flared up and tense yesterday.

But the ‘yesterday’ in the political logbook of Delhi saw an even bitter display of the hostility between two topmost functionaries – the Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung, the Constitutional representative of the Union Government, in this case the National Democratic Alliance’s government led by Narendra Modi of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) – and the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) who take reins of the city-state for the second time this February.

Though we did not hear much about the proposed meeting of Delhi secretaries that Manish Sisodia had called after meeting the President, Delhi saw a lengthy meeting of IAS officers last evening. Reportedly, the IAS officers of AGMUT cadre are displeased with the AAP and Arvind Kejriwal’s government and had called the meeting to deliberate over the resultant issues.

But first about Delhi L-G Vs Delhi CM.

After meeting the President, Kejriwal shot a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi blaming the Union Government of trying to run Delhi through the Delhi L-G.

In response, Jung, furthering the letter war and taking it to an even more bitter level, cancelled all the appointments by the Delhi government in the past four days. In a letter sent to Kejriwal, Jung alleged the government of ‘obfuscating’ the atmosphere in Delhi by interpreting the Constitution in Kejriwal’s own way, and he blamed it was in violation of the norms.

The battle got worsened, on a day we hoped to get some sort of restraint. Jung cancelled all bureaucratic appointments where he was not consulted. On the other hand, Kejriwal has ordered his officials to not consult the L-G in Delhi government’s matters.

Kejriwal hit back on L-G’s letter asking him under what provisions of Indian Constitution, Delhi Act and Transaction of Business Rules in the context empowered him to do so.

And in the line of fire are the officials the Civil Services.

The Delhi L-G is asking them to not obey the Delhi CM and the Delhi CM is asking them to not follow the orders of the Delhi L-G. And they don’t know whom to follow. IAS officers of Delhi termed the treatment being meted out to them in words like ‘harassment, character assassination and public humiliation’ in the meeting.

What else can we say when Manish Sisodia openly says that they were operating a ‘transfer-posting’ industry in Delhi. We are not left with any options but to think so when office of a secretary is sealed by the Delhi Government for following orders of the L-G. We don’t know if Shakuntala Gamlin is pro-corporate but Arvind Kejriwal criticises her publicly. Delhi Government alleged she was acting for a corporate house and it wanted to remove her from power secretary post, yet she figured in Manish Sisodia’s list sent to the L-G to shortlist the acting chief secretary. With objectionable points like this, what else can we think?

The follow up of the controversy may throw two consequences. IAS officers of Delhi may take a tough stand and openly rebel. Or the Delhi government may come up with the proposal to withdraw the completely IAS cadre from service under it.

Union Government, so far, has not reacted on affairs in Delhi. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has advised L-G and CM to sit together and resolve the deadlock. But, the Centre discussed the issue with Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi yesterday. Also, the state unite of the party is blaming the AAP for Constitutional crisis in Delhi. Vijender Gupta met the President today to demand his intervention in the matter.

We hoped yesterday would be a day of restraint after meetings with the President. That didn’t happen. We now hope the President would release a response in the matter to clarify the Constitutional position in Delhi as the concerned parties decided not to follow his verbal advice.

But we have to say its effectiveness would be doubtful if it comes out to be anti-AAP response. Kejriwal and his government may continue with the stand in that case. Court would be then the final place then to resolve the crisis.

Delhi has not seen such situation before – tension between the Delhi L-G and the Delhi CM so scaled up.

Due to unique nature of Delhi, being a city-state and the national capital of India, it is governed by different set of laws than other Union Territories including Pondicherry. The different set of laws derive from the Indian Constitution, different provisions of the GNCTD Act and the Transaction of Business rules and the Union Government has a serious stake in running it.

And that it does through its representative, the Lieutenant-Governor. In fact, many important administrative aspects of Delhi, i.e., law and order, security and lands are with the Union Government. Delhi Police and Delhi Development Authority are not under the Delhi CM. All three municipal corporations of Delhi are ruled by the BJP.

Delhi’s ruling politicians and bureaucrats, so far, have found a mid-way to get out of the situation arising out of this segregation of responsibilities – of two power centres in the Capital. Even Tejendra Khanna was not a titular head even if Congress had governments, both in Delhi and at Union level.

Kejriwal wants to change that. He wants supremacy of his elected government. He wants Delhi Police under his control. He wants Delhi to be recognized as full state. During his previous term of 49 days, he even sat on a protest for it.

And the recent episode of the controversy with the Delhi L-G has its origin in his such aspirations. The controversy that began with the appointment of Shakuntala Gamlin will see its conclusion in a court if the warring parties do not listen to the President.

That may be a blessing in disguise because laws governing Delhi presents a shady, grey area that has divided even the Constitutional experts. The court ruling in that case would be the final word then.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/