Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday slammed the BJP for trying to take control of Delhi through deceit. The CM criticised the Central Government for its ordinance and the misuse of the recently created National Capital Civil Services Authority (NCCSA). CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal highlighted the BJP’s embarrassing defeats in four elections, emphasising that the party’s chances of winning in Delhi are slim for the foreseeable future.
The Chief Minister has brought attention to the Centre’s ordinance that places an excessive amount of power in the hands of bureaucrats over and above the ministers, the Chief Minister, and the Cabinet.
One of the alarming consequences of this ordinance is that the final decision-making authority will now rest with department secretaries rather than elected officials. The CM expressed his dismay, pointing out that the secretary can dismiss the minister’s decision in every department. Furthermore, the Chief Secretary will be positioned above the Cabinet, granting them the authority to determine which decisions made by the Cabinet are correct.
In an apparent attempt to subvert the will of the people, two officers have been appointed above the Chief Minister to overturn the decisions in NCCSA. The CM highlighted the severity of the situation by asserting that no proposal can be brought to the Cabinet without the consent of the officers. This move effectively places all decision-making power in the hands of officers under the direct control of the central government. The Chief Minister called upon the citizens of Delhi to remain vigilant and united against such subversion of democratic processes.
The Delhi CM addressed a press conference after holding the first meeting of the body and explained to the public how the NCCSA was a farce as the decisions that were to be taken under it were already taken by the Centre.
He further said that the Centre has very cunningly tried to take control over Delhi through this body despite being defeated in the state assembly elections by the citizens of Delhi. “We first need to understand that through this ordinance, what is it that the Centre is trying to do. After losing the state assembly elections three consecutive times in Delhi, the BJP-led Central Government is now very cunningly trying to take control of the city through this ordinance,” he said.
Shri Arvind Kejriwal explained how the provisions of the ordinance give the government officers the authority to override the decisions of the Cabinet. “The Central Government has added several such provisions within this ordinance, through which there is a Centre-appointed government officer to review every decision that is taken by the elected government of Delhi. There is a government officer who will now vet even the decisions of the Cabinet of the Delhi Government. So, now in each department of the state government, the minister is not the highest authority, but it will be a Centre-appointed officer,” he said.
He added, “Every decision taken in the Cabinet will now have to be authorised by the LG and the Chief Secretary. It is only for formality that they have created the NCCSA, which consists of the Chief Minister and two officers who report to the Centre – the LG and Chief Secretary. So, the Centre has created a system through this ordinance through which the bureaucrats that are controlled by the Central Government have a final say on every matter of the elected government of Delhi. Because the Centre has complete control over Service department and Vigilance department, it will eventually have complete control over whatever is happening in Delhi. So, clearly the attempt of the Centre is to run Delhi through the medium of bureaucrats.”
Shri Arvind Kejriwal explained how this ordinance was against the basic principles of the Constitution of India. “However, the BJP needs to remember that India is a democracy and the core value of our Constitution is this important fact that India is a democracy. In this the citizens of the country elect the government that they want to represent them, and it is through the medium of the bureaucracy that the elected government works for the people. For this to take place, the elected government needs to have control over the officers,” he said.
He added, “For the first time ever in the history of the country, the BJP-led Central Government has come up with a scheme where the bureaucrats will now be above the ministers. Why is this being done? This is just because the BJP has not been able to win over the people of Delhi and now through the officers who are under them, the BJP wants to gain control of Delhi. So, now under this scheme of things, in any department if the minister decides to take certain actions, it will now be the government officers over him who will decide whether this action should be taken. So, the officer has now got an excuse to stop every work of the Delhi Government. The officer can just say that there is no requirement of the particular action and refuse to take any step.”
Shri Arvind Kejriwal gave ample examples of how this will affect the developmental works of the Delhi Government. “If the minister tells the officer that there is a requirement of two schools in an area, the officer can refuse to listen to the minister saying that there is no need of it. Since the elected representatives work in association with the people of an area, if in an areas, say, Karol Bagh, there is a need of a few Mohalla Clinic and the minister says that these clinics need to come up in an area, the officer can just say that it is not required and the work will have to be stopped right there and then. If the minister says that the quality of water in an area is poor, but the officer says that it is clean, everyone has to agree to the fact that it is clean and no work can take place. This is the kind of power than this ordinance gives to the government officers,” he said.
He pointed out that the ordinance also provides the LG Office with arbitrary powers that even the Constitution of India does not grant it. “Whatever decisions the Cabinet – which is referred to as the Supreme Body – takes, it is eventually the Chief Secretary who will decide if this important decision is right or wrong. This Cabinet consists of the ministers and the Chief Minister as the head of the body, but still it is the Chief Secretary who has been given such enormous powers by the ordinance. He will eventually report to the LG on what decisions are to be taken and the LG has been given the authority to overturn the decision taken by the elected government. Such powers have not been granted to the LG even by the Constitution of India. Therefore we keep saying that this ordinance is nothing but an attempt to overturn the Constitution of India,” he said.
The Delhi CM explained that through the NCCSA the Centre wants to give it the appearance that there is a body that mutually takes important decisions for Delhi, but in reality that is not the case. “This is nothing but a conspiracy to not let the elected government do any work in Delhi. I will explain to you how futile this NCCSA is as a body through an example. Around 15 days ago, I received a file in which the suspension of a government officer was recommended. After reading this file, I had 3-4 queries and clarifications, so I wrote these on the file. I never received this file back and later it was said that two of the three members of the NCCSA had recommended the suspension and therefore it has been confirmed. The LG and the Chief Secretary this way will always be on the same page as they are both officers selected by the Centre. Through this body, they have made a mockery of the office of the Chief Minister. Even if I ask for clarification on a matter, it is not considered important to reply to it. Therefore this body is just a farce for the Centre to do whatever it feels like in Delhi,” he said.
The Delhi CM concluded by saying that the state government will take this matter to the Supreme Court and he said that he was confident that the court will reject this unconstitutional ordinance. “We will obviously take this issue to the Supreme Court and we believe that it will rule in our favour as this is unconstitutional. We also have the support of several opposition parties if this ordinance reaches Parliament. We are confident that it will be rejected in the Rajya Sabha as well,” he said.
During the press conference, the CM also informed the media about the outcome of the NCCSA meeting today. The authority had met to discuss the issue of disciplinary proceedings against an officer of the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL). He informed, it was a clear ‘black & white’ case and thus the authority has unanimously decided to approve proceedings against the officer.