The tussle between Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal refused to die down even after the two met for over an hour on Friday with the latter alleging that according to the 2018 Supreme Court judgement, the LG has no independent decision-making power.
Rebutting Kejriwal's statements, a Raj Niwas official said all the statements made by him attributing to the LG were “misleading, patently false and fabricated and twisted to suit a particular agenda”.
Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Kejriwal alleged that for the last few months, the interference of the lieutenant governor in the elected government's working has increased day by day.
He said that for the meeting, he had even carried copies of the Constitution, Motor Vehicles Act, GNCTD Act, School Education Act, all relevant judgments of the Supreme Court to discuss with him.
Kejriwal requested the LG not to “politicise the life and survival of Delhiites", saying it is not a good precedent for the times to come.
"The kind of interference we are facing from the LG is not only obstructionist but also a strong deterrent in the fulfilment of the needs and ambitions of the people of Delhi. I had met with the LG to discuss such matters of concern today. My intention behind the meeting was to weed out any personal differences or any misinterpretation or misunderstanding of the Constitution and the subsequent court orders, laws and other statutes,” he said.
Explaining the scenario in the national capital, Kejriwal said there is a clear division of power in Delhi and subject matters have been divided into two categories with police, land and public order falling under the LG and every other subject matter being under the elected government of Delhi.
"The three subjects that fall under the LG and as per the Constitution, he has all the might to act upon them. They are called Reserved Subjects, as in, they are reserved for his discretion. But it is very clear that no other subject falls under him. These subjects that include but are not limited to education, healthcare, electricity, water, etc. are called Transferred Subjects because the authority to act upon them has been transferred to the elected government," Kejriwal said.
On July 4, 2018, the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had passed an order saying that "the Lieutenant Governor has not been entrusted with any independent decision making power (in context of the transferred subjects)".
Further the order states once again that "there is no independent authority vested in Lieutenant Governor to take decisions, except on matters where he exercises his discretion as a judicial or quasi-judicial authority under any law, implying that the LG only has an independent authority in cases where the LG may be required to act like a judge who resolves conflicts between people,” he said.
Kejriwal said that he cited the order during their meeting, and stressed that it also means that the LG's order to seal the office of Dialogue and Development Commission (DDC) vice chairperson Jasmine Shah, his appointment of the presiding officer and 10 aldermen to the civic body, his order for recovery of Rs 164 crore from AAP for political advertisements, his order stopping the Finland Training Tour of teachers were all “illegal and unconstitutional”.
"I showed all of this to LG. I asked him to read the court order. What was extremely shocking to me was that upon being shown all these facts, the LG said the 'court's order is merely an opinion'. He said 'I am the Administrator of Delhi and the Administrator can do anything he wishes',” Kejriwal said.
Accusing the LG of apparently believing that he has unsurmountable power over Delhi, Kejriwal alleged that the LG said he is the “Administrator of Delhi and he will drive the government in whatever direction he wants”.
“He said he can issue any kind of instructions and directives he wants. When I brought up the division of reserved and transferred subjects, he said that he doesn't believe in the demarcation. I asked him if the President could act in the same manner with PM Modi as the LG is acting with me. He said that ‘that is a separate case, I am the supreme power of Delhi, I am not inclined to believe the word of the Supreme Court because I am the Administrator and I believe the Court is only giving an opinion'. I was shocked to see his behaviour,” Kejriwal alleged.
Kejriwal said he told the LG how payments across all the departments in the last three months have been stopped by the officers.
“All funds of the Delhi Jal Board have been stopped by the finance department. It has resulted in the work of all the WTPs, STPs being stopped. They have stopped all tests, medicines, salaries of doctors and rent in Mohalla Clinics. Bus Marshalls have not been paid for three months. When confronted, the officers say that the LG office indirectly pressured them to do so. All of this happened three months before the MCD elections to harm the AAP. I asked him why he did so, but he refused involvement in it,” he added.
Kejriwal urged the LG to appoint a capable and learned constitutional advisor in his team so that there is someone to tell him that Supreme Court orders are binding upon him.
Refuting Kejriwal's claims, a Raj Niwas official said in a statement: "All statements attributed by the CM to the LG in his press conference after the meeting, with regard to orders of the
Supreme Court, powers as administrator, supremacy over all subjects and directions to officers are misleading, patently false and fabricated and twisted to suit a particular agenda."
"These statements are categorically denied. The CM will also be well advised to function in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, Parliamentary Acts and Supreme Court's judgments and refrain from running down an existing law just because it has been challenged in the Court of Law," the official said.