AAP Government to Defy Lt Governor by Not Obeying Direction on Circle Rates

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AAP Government to Defy Lt Governor by Not Obeying Direction on Circle Rates

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung had stayed the notification on August 10, saying that the Arvind Kejriwal government did not seek his approval on increasing circle rates of agricultural land.

New Delhi:  The Aam Aadmi Party government led by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has decided not to follow Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung's directions on the issue of enhancing circle rates on agricultural land, making it the latest flashpoint between the government and the Centre over who controls the state administration.

In a resolution passed by the AAP government today, it said, "The cabinet directs the officers to implement the notification dated 4 August 2015, so that they are not liable for any loss to the exchequer due to non-implementation of the notification. The cabinet also urges the Hon'ble LG not to resort to issuance of such unlawful communications which are cause of embarrassment for holders of High Constitutional Offices." 

Citing the rule book, the government said "the Lt Governor is required to act on 'aid and advice' of council of ministers according to Article 239 AA of the Constitution and this advice is 'binding' on the Lt Governor.

The Lt Governor's office quickly responded with a statement, "The notification prima facie is bad in law since it pertains to 'Land' which is a 'Reserved Subject', coming under the domain of the Central Government. Moreover, the notification contains inherent inconsistencies. Rates have been fixed for land that would come under the Land Pooling Policy. This policy has not yet become operational because villages that will be covered under the policy have not yet been declared 'urban' by the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi," it said.

On August 10, the Lt Governor has stayed the notification, saying that the government did not seek his approval, and that his office was examining the notification as per Constitution and legal provisions.

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Earlier in June, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had proposed to increase circle rates on agriculture land by up to 125 per cent in the budget. Circle rates are the minimum value at which the sale or transfer of any type of land or property can take place.

Mr Kejriwal and the LG, through the Centre, are locked in a bitter turf war over who has the final say on all matters relating to administration.

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