Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena, who has been accused of defying the Supreme Court’s orders to let the city government handle transfers and appointments of bureaucrats, as the showdown between the two sides saw a sharp escalation on Friday.
“I met the LG (Lieutenant Governor). He said he is sending (the clearances). I hope the rumours about the central government negating the Supreme Court order with an ordnance are false,” Mr Kejriwal said after the visit.
Earlier, in a letter to Mr Kejriwal, the Lt Governor alleged “unconstitutional brazenness, intimidation and disregard of rules and procedures” by the AAP government following the Supreme Court verdict on service matters.
The letter came after Delhi’s cabinet ministers landed at Mr Saxena’s doorstep over the issue of the transfer of the services’ secretary. The Lieutenant Governor, however, did not meet them.
The Lieutenant Governor said that in the past week, a “gloomy face of governance” emerged in Delhi where “organised, structured and specialised administrative machinery” is yet again facing the “brunt” of the “high-handedness” of the political executive.
“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 Bhardwaj, ever since the Constitution Bench judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 11.05.2023,” Mr Saxena’s letter read.
Alleging a “chaotic style of governance”, Mr Saxena claimed that decisions were being conveyed to him through Twitter and the media and that he was being held to ransom through consistent media pressure.
The Supreme Court ruled last week that the elected government of Delhi had executive power over what is known as service matters, including transfer and posting of officers, except those related to police, public order and land.
The ruling was seen as a major victory for the Aam Aadmi Party government, which had been locked in a power tussle with the central government and its representative, the lieutenant governor, over the control of bureaucrats.
However, the Delhi government’s orders transferring several officers have been held up by the centre.
The Delhi government has approached the Supreme Court once again, accusing the central government and the lieutenant governor’s office of defying its order.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has alleged that the lieutenant governor was yet to clear the file on the transfer of the services secretary Ashish More sent two days ago.
The senior bureaucrat has sent a complaint against Mr Bharadwaj to the Chief Secretary and Lieutenant Governor alleging misbehaviour.
Ashish More alleges that on May 16, the minister called him to his chamber, misbehaved with him, and threatened him. Mr More has demanded action from the government in this matter and appealed for security for himself.