The ongoing battle between the Centre and the Aam Admi Patry (AAP) government in Delhi refuses to die down.
Hardening his position on the transfer of Delhi’s Home Secretary, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday conveyed to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs that giving additional charge to top bureaucrats was within the rights of his government and that it should not interfere in such matters.
This came after when the Home Ministry revoked Delhi Government’s order to repatriate Dharam Pal to the Centre terming it “ab initio void” and asserted that the powers to transfer AGMUT cadre officers rests only with the Centre.
Senior IAS official Dharam Pal was removed as Home Secretary on Tuesday and repatriated to the Centre by the AAP government in Delhi. Principal Secretary of Services Department Rajendra Kumar was given the additional charge of the top post.
However, Lt Governor Najeeb Jung had rejected Pal’s transfer and asked him to continue while Kejriwal had asked Kumar to discharge his duties as Home Secretary. In something unprecedented, both Kumar and Pal have been working separately as Home Secretaries since Wednesday.
In a letter to Home Ministry on Thursday morning, Kejriwal said that as per provisions of the Constitution and GNCT Act, the city government was well within its right to give “additional or temporary charge” to senior officials.
He also maintained that city government, as per laid down provisions, has a say in transfer and postings.
Pal was also Principal Secretary (Land and Buildings) and Delhi government appointed 1992-batch IAS officer Ashwani Kumar to the post.
Delhi Chief Secretary K K Sharma on Thursday told Kumar about the Home Ministry’s directive.
“The orders number 296 and 297 stand rescinded in compliance with the orders of Central Government,” Chief Secretary K K Sharma said in his order on Thursday.
In its order, the Union Home Ministry said that it is the cadre controlling authority for AGMUT cadre, which is a joint cadre.
Pal was removed by the AAP government after he signed a notification appointing Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police M K Meena as new chief of Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) following Lt Governor Najeeb Jung’s order.
Jung on Monday had appointed Meena superseding Kejriwal’s hand-picked chief S S Yadav. The AAP government had reacted sharply to the decision.
In a letter, Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain had said no files pertaining to the department should go to Dharam Pal failing which strict action will be taken by the government.
“Vide order no. 297 dated 9.6.15 Dharam Pal, IAS, has been repatriated and Rajender Kumar, secretary has been assigned the additional charge of secretary (home). According to the rules, being the Home Minister it is within my power to decide as to how the department is to be run and accordingly it is directed that all files shall be submitted by the concerned additional secretary/special secretary to Rajender Kumar who is presently holding the charge of secretary (home),” Jain had said in his letter to the Home Department.