Centre backs Najeeb Jung, notifies LG is Delhi’s boss

Rajat Kain

File Photo ( PTI )

File Photo ( PTI )

Union Home Ministry has issued a notification that the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi will have an all-encompassing jurisdiction over the matters concerning law and order, transfers and postings in services, public order and police, and land. The gazette notification is aimed at settling the dispute between the powers of elected government and the Constitutional head in Delhi, which has sparked a stalemate between an incumbent CM Arvind Kejriwal and LG Najeeb Jung. The notification may dent a serious blow to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party’s line of argument demanding its elected government to have an absolute say on all the administrative and service matters of Delhi.

“Public order, police, land and services fall outside purview of legislative assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi and consequently the Government of NCT of Delhi will have no executive power,” the notification read.

Issued on Friday, the gazette of India notification also made it clear that it is for the Lieutenant Governor to choose if he wants to consult the state government or not. “The LG may, in his discretion, obtain the views of the Chief Minister… wherever he deems it appropriate,” notes the order.

The notification was issued after rounds of hectic consultations and detailed discussions between the Home Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office. Since last week AAP-led government and Delhi LG had been locked in a turf war over the appointment, removal, reinstatement and even transfer/posting of the bureaucrats.

Reacting to the Home Ministry order, Delhi CM Kejriwal took to the micro-blogging site Twitter, “BJP first lost Del elections. Today’s notification shows BJP’s nervousness abt our anti-corruption efforts. BJP again lost today”.

As the impasse between the two sides reached zenith earlier this week, they held meetings with President Pranab Mukherjee, but separately. Even Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh met with the President on Wednesday.

And now after the notification effectively stating that the LG is a final authority on the matters of Delhi, Najeeb Jung has got the backing of Centre on all the decisions he has taken during the last one week period.

Earlier the ruling party dropped the hints of not backing from its stand. Anticipating the notification, Delhi’s deputy CM had opined on twitter, “Will see if Constitution wins or corrupt netas': Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on reports that Centre will back Lt Governor”.

It all began last week over the minor issue of appointing a stand-in Chief Secretary of Delhi after incumbent KK Sharma took short a leave for personal reasons. The temporary appointee Shakuntala Gamlin, who also holds the charge of Delhi’s Power Secretary, was opposed by the CM alleging her proximity with the power discoms. But the LG office went ahead appointing Ms Gamlin reasoning her proven record, integrity and seniority. The allegations against Shakuntala Gamlin have not been backed by any proof till now. The row then escalated further with CM Kejriwal removing Principal Secretary of Service Department Anindo Majumdar for he had formalised Ms Gamlin’s appointment, a duty expected out of procedures. The LG, on the other hand, declared the orders to remove Majumdar void and in turn ordered his reinstatement.

But the ugliest took place earlier this week on Monday as Majumdar found his office in Delhi secretariat locked and himself replaced with CM’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar, an officer considered close to CM Arvind Kejriwal. The LG again stepped in to declare CM’s orders void and later issued a public release declaring his jurisdiction over every service matters in Delhi.