The Delhi government's law department is looking into grating sanction for a Delhi Police chargesheet against former JNU student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar in a sedition case, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said today. The law minister of the national capital, Kailash Gehlot, also sent a notice to the principal secretary (law) AK Mendiratta, asking him why the Delhi government was not kept in the loop about the chargesheet, a move seen as having potential to raise another round of conflict between the Delhi government and central bureaucrats.
The chief minister then took a jibe at the Modi government, accusing it of interference in the affairs of the Delhi government. "I do not know whether Kanhaiya has committed sedition or not, which is being examined by the law department. On the other hand, Modi ji has stalled (projects like) schools for children, hospitals, installation of CCTV cameras, setting up of mohalla clinics in Delhi. Is this not sedition?" Mr Kejriwal tweeted.
Last week, a city court had declined the 1,200-page chargesheet by Delhi Police on the ground that they did not seek the Delhi legal department's opinion before filing it against Mr Kumar, who allegedly made an inflammatory speech on Jawaharlal Nehru University campus in February 2016, and nine others including former student leader Umar Khalid.
For filing a chargesheet in a sedition case under the Code of Criminal Procedure, the police must take sanction from the state government. The Delhi Police are under the home ministry.
Now, the Aam Aadmi Party minister has asked Mr Mendiratta to explain why the file on the JNU sedition case was sent to the Principal Home Secretary instead of showing it to him.
Friction between the Delhi government and bureaucrats who are on the centre's payroll has often flared up in the past, even to the point of bureaucrats going on "strike". Serious confrontation between the Kejriwal government and the bureaucracy in June last year had paralysed file movement in the government, with both sides accusing each other of crossing the line.
Mr Kejriwal and his ministers had sat inside Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal's house in protest for over six days in June last year in protest against a "strike" by Indian Administrative Service officers, who the AAP government accused of non-cooperation in everyday work. Arvind Kejriwal had blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the crisis.