Ramping up its confrontation with the Centre, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government on Tuesday moved a resolution in the Delhi Assembly against the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) notification giving absolute powers to the Lieutenant Governor on a number of key areas of administration.
AAP legislator Adarsh Shastri demanded a constitutional amendment to empower state assemblies to impeach Governors and Lt Governors.
Moving the resolution as the two-day special asession of the Assembly got underway, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia termed the MHA notification an insult to the mandate of Delhi’s voters, a “big encroachment” upon powers of the Delhi Assembly which, he said, the AAP government will resist tooth and nail.
“This notification is a big encroachment upon the powers of Delhi Assembly. It was issued citing that as Delhi doesn’t have state service commission, so Delhi Assembly does not have control over services. Tomorrow the Central government can say that you don’t have control over the sources of water so you can’t supply water to the city,” he said.
Sisodia accused the Centre of toying with the Constitution while noting that a mere executive order cannot bring about such amendments. The notification gives the L-G absolute powers in appointment of bureaucrats while also clarifying that he need not “consult” the CM on subjects like police and public order.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of the Delhi government has also been barred from registering any case against officers and political functionaries of the Central government. However, the Delhi High Court on Monday ruled that the ACB has the authority to probe Central government officials, including Delhi Police personnel.
Earlier on Tuesday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met the LG, Najeeb Jung, and discussed functioning of the ACB. Kejriwal apprised the L-G of the High Court ruling, sources said. This is the first meeting between the two since the confrontation began over the appointment of an acting chief secretary when Kejriwal questioned the L-G’s authority and accused him of trying to take over the administration.
Sisodia urged the Assembly to debate on the notification and decide whether it would remain silent about it. "We are not here to sit and spend government money and later say certain things are not in our jurisdiction. If the rights conferred to the Delhi Assembly by the Constitution of India are taken away then it becomes incumbent upon us to strongly protest across party lines," he said.