Centre brings ordinance to overturn SC order on Delhi

Centre issues ordinance on transfer, posting of Group A officers in Delhi, AAP cries foul

Transfer and postings of all officers of the Delhi government were under the executive control of the lieutenant governor before the May 11 top court verdict

Arvind Kejriwal, VK Saxena. Credit: DH Photo

A late night ordinance clipping the wings of Delhi government after a Supreme Court judgement gave it wings of power to control officers has triggered a confrontation with the AAP all set to challenge the Narendra Modi government once again in Supreme Court.

Eight days after the apex court gave the AAP-led Delhi government powers to appoint and transfer bureaucrats other than those related to public order, police and land, the Modi government notified an ordinance on Friday at 9:55 PM that virtually allowed two bureaucrats to veto the Chief Minister.

Also Read: Delhi-Centre power row: Supreme Court rules in favour of Delhi government, says it has control over services

According to the ordinance, a National Capital Civil Service Authority will be set up with the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and Principal Home Secretary to be members to decide on postings and transfers. 

If the two bureaucrats appointed by the Centre get together, they can stall the Chief Minister’s choice in a voting.

The AAP has decided not to let this pass, and fielded a series of senior leaders to attack the government. It questioned the timing of the ordinance, which it said was "unconstitutional" and an attempt to "snatch" power given to the government by the apex court. 

AAP Rajya Sabha floor leader Sanjay Singh told reporters that the ordinance made it clear that the Centre does not want the Kejriwal government to function. 

"The Centre doesn't obey the court and it doesn't care about the Constitution. It disregarded a court order by bringing the ordinance. The Centre only wants dictatorship. It does not believe in the Constitution or laws of the country and this is why it brought the ordinance. This matter will definitely go to court,” he said.

Delhi Minister Atishi claimed that the Modi government deliberately chose to bring the ordinance at a time when the Supreme Court has closed for summer vacation. "The Centre deliberately chose to bring this ordinance last night. The Supreme Court has closed for vacation for six weeks and this is a deliberate attempt to hamper work," she alleged.

She said, "the authority will take decisions on the basis of majority. That means decisions will be taken by the Centre's bureaucrats. If it takes any decision that the Centre doesn't like, then the LG will have the power to reverse the decision."

AAP appeared to have an inkling of what was in store, as Chief Minister Kejriwal himself hinting about the possibility of an ordinance to nullify its powers and sent his ministers to Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena to clear the file of transfer of Services Secretary Ashish More.

High drama was witnessed at the LG House, as the ministers waited outside Raj Niwas for around 90 minutes before they were called inside. However, Saxena did not budge and late in the evening, the Ministry of Law and Justice issued the ordinance.

The Kejriwal government had moved a file to transfer More out of the Services Department but for almost 48 hours, he did not initiate file movement and went incommunicado. The LG also dug in heels, apparently as the Union Government was working on the ordinance. 

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