Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia met Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal this evening.
New Delhi: Two days after a Supreme Court verdict that was meant to resolve a long-running turf battle in Delhi, a meeting between the Lieutenant Governor and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal established a new flashpoint. Mr Kejriwal has accused the BJP-led Central government of openly violating the court verdict that said the Lt Governor controls only land, police and public order. Lt Governor Anil Baijal today said he still has the power to appoint and transfer bureaucrats as the court is yet to decide on a 2015 home ministry order that handed the role to the Lieutenant Governor. Mr Kejriwal said the centre's stance will "lead to anarchy".
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"This is the first time in India's history that the Central government had openly refused to obey the order of the Supreme Court. This will set an incredibly worrying precedent," Mr Kejriwal said.
"They (the Centre) have an interest in not letting the Delhi government work," he said, adding in a later tweet that he has sought a meeting with home minster Rajnath Singh "to urge him to follow Hon'ble SC's orders".
A communique from the Lieutenant Governor's office said after the top court judgment, "the Ministry of Home Affairs has advised that as per concluding paras of judgement, the nine appeals including the one relating to 'Services' shall be taken up by the learned regular Bench and the MHA notification dated 21.05.2015 continue to be valid".
The communique further said the Home Ministry has advised that "as per concluding paras of the (Supreme Court) judgement, the nine appeals including the one relating to 'Services' shall be taken up by the learned regular Bench and the MHA notification dated 21.05.2015 continue to be valid.
Earlier today, Mr Kejriwal announced the implementation of the doorstep ration delivery "overturning" the Lieutenant Governor's objections.
On Wednesday, a few hours after the Supreme Court verdict, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia signed off an order that authorized the chief minister to transfer officers. The top court, he said, had underscored that an elected government does not need a sign-off from the Lt Governor.
The bureaucrats, however, rejected the order, saying unless the 2015 government order is scrapped by the court or the Lt Governor, Mr Baijal remains in charge of services. The Supreme Court, they contended, has not cancelled the government order that brought services under the control of the Lieutenant Governor.
In a Facebook post, Union minister Arun Jaitley said the Delhi government's reading of the verdict -- that the Supreme Court has given it administrative powers over union territory cadre officers -- was "wholly erroneous".
The court ruling, said Mr Jaitley, "does not either add to the powers of the state government or the central government nor does it in any way dilute them. It emphasises at the importance of elected state government, but Delhi being a union territory makes its powers subservient to the central government."
Transfer and appointment of officials was one of the first flashpoints between Mr Kejriwal's government and the Lieutenant Governor. Last month, alleging that the bureaucrats were on a "strike", Mr Kejriwal held a sit-in protest for nine days in Mr Baijal's waiting room.