The tussle over the powers of AAP government in Delhi intensified on Saturday with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia writing a letter to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and urging him “to stop taking decisions on matters under elected government”.
The Deputy Chief Minister also called upon Mr Baijal to “stop calling meeting of officials on such matters and giving them directions”.
“Your such meetings and the decisions taken in it are not only unconstitutional but also a violation of orders of Supreme Court. Sidelining the elected government and your calling meeting of officials and taking decisions in them is a murder of democracy. Whatever the political pressures on you, please do as L-G what will further strengthen the democracy,” he said.
Mr Sisodia said in his letter in Hindi that for the last about three months, the Lt Governor has been calling the key officers of various departments of the Delhi government in his office, “holding a meeting with them and also giving guidelines regarding the work related to their departments.”
“You are also giving directions to the concerned officers by calling the concerned officers in your meeting without informing the ministers about the works coming under the purview of the elected government of Delhi. Later the officers of the Lieutenant Governor’s office put constant pressure on the officials of the government to implement those decisions,” Mr Sisodia alleged.
He said if Governors or the Lieutenant Governors appointed by the Central Government start taking decisions on all the subjects by ignoring elected governments, the hard-earned democracy in the country will come to an end.
“Nowhere in the Constitution has the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi been empowered to convene a direct meeting of the officers of the departments concerned, take decisions and issue directions to them on the subjects under the elected government of Delhi,” Mr Sisodia said.
He said the constitution only provides for decisions concerning land, police and public order to be taken by the Lt Governor of Delhi.
The Deputy Chief Minister referred to the Supreme Court judgement of 2018 and said the five-judge bench had said that the Lt Governor “does not have a right to take an independent decision” and mentioned that the constitution provides only two rights to the Lt Governor – either to agree with the decision of the elected government or to send his disagreement to the President.
He said the top court had also said that the right to convey disagreement has to be exercised in rare and exceptional circumstances by the Lt Governor.
“I would like to request that you stop the decision-making activities in the subjects which come under the elected government of Delhi. Stop calling officers’ meetings on these subjects and giving them instructions. These meetings of yours and the decisions taken in them are not only unconstitutional but also a violation of the order of the Supreme Court,” the AAP leader said.