The Delhi Government on Friday hit out at the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Shri Vinai Kumar Saxena for not following the orders of the Supreme Court and delaying important files of the state government relating to the Services Department. Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal raised serious questions regarding the delay in the appointment of the Services Secretary by Lieutenant Governor (LG) and the evident non-compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court. The CM expressed his frustration on social media and asked why hasn’t the LG signed the file for the Services Secretary’s appointment? Why is he not obeying the Supreme Court’s orders?, he further said. Adding to the concerns, the CM also mentioned speculation surrounding the central government’s intention to quash the Supreme Court order by introducing an ordinance next week.

Supporting the Chief Minister’s stance, Services Minister Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj, expressed his disappointment over the delay in the transfer of the service secretary. He emphasised that after the order of the Supreme Court, LG does not have the right to change the officers; now this has to be done by the elected government. The government’s concern is further fueled by the fact that the file, which was sent to the LG’s office on May 17, remains unprocessed even after two days. In light of these developments, Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj made an appeal to the LG, urging him to promptly process the file for the transfer of the Services Secretary. He also requested the LG to process the file for transfer of the service secretary as soon as possible so that work can get back on track.

Addressing a press conference on the issue, Services Minister Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj said that on 11th May a five-judge Constitution Bench gave a unanimous verdict that the services department of the state government should be under the control of the democratically elected government, and not under the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, who is appointed by the Central Government. He said that it was a very clear and unambiguous order of the Supreme Court.

The Delhi Cabinet Minister also said that later that day Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal made it very clear that the state government will bring in several changes in the structure of administration in Delhi. The Delhi CM had pointed out that government officers who were working against the people of Delhi would be transferred out of their posts. “There were government officers who were involved in blocking the pension of elderly citizens, some officers were involved in purposely stopping the remuneration of doctors and other nursing staff of Mohalla Clinics so that the poor patients of Delhi would suffer. So, officers who purposely worked to make life difficult for the citizens of Delhi will be phased out and those officers who genuinely are willing to work hard for the benefit of the people will take their place,” he said.

Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj added that soon after the Delhi CM made this important announcement, it was decided by the Delhi Government that before removing officers who failed to perform their duty, it was important to remove the Services Secretary, whose job it is to give orders to other non-performing officers. He said that without the removal of such an officer, it will be difficult for the Delhi Government to get its important decisions implemented on ground.

“On the 11th of May itself the Delhi Government took the decision to relieve the Services Secretary of his charge, but he suddenly vanished during the day. He remained out of reach of other staff members over the next couple of days and eventually a show cause notice was also issued to him. He even switched off his phone, a letter was sent to his residence and this was not collected, and finally after a couple of days the secretary finally came to office, and even then he tried to delay the implementation of the order. So, therefore finally on May 17th the file was sent to the LG Office. It has been two days now and this file is still lying in the office of the Lieutenant Governor,” he said.

Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj made it very clear that after the recent order of the Supreme Court the LG does not have the authority to tell the state government which officer to keep at what post. He added that the court order made it amply clear that these decisions are to be taken by the elected government of Delhi. He said that it is in front of everyone today that the LG and the Central Government are unwilling to listen to what the Supreme Court has to say on this matter. “We have also heard through our sources in the LG House that officers present over there are calling up secretaries of departments in Delhi Government and informing them that the Central Government is going to bring an ordinance in the case to upturn the order of the Supreme Court. So, these officers have been instructed to halt all the works of the Delhi Government until such an ordinance is out next week. We want to know whether this information is true? Is the Central Government and the LG Office once again conspiring to upturn the order of the court to snatch away the powers that the Constitution rests with the elected government of Delhi?” he asked.

The Delhi Cabinet Minister asked whether this would not be a conspiracy against the citizens of Delhi as well. He pointed out that if Shri Arvind Kejriwal has been elected by the people of Delhi for the third time with such a majority, would it not be a betrayal of their mandate. Revealing the further course of action of the state government, Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj said that the Cabinet Ministers of Delhi will today proceed to go and meet the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. “I have requested my colleagues in the Cabinet today that we all go and meet the LG on this issue and request him to accept the decision taken collectively by the Delhi Cabinet. Any delay caused by the LG on such an issue will go on to hamper the developmental works of the residents of Delhi. This will be against the mandate of the people of Delhi, and will also be against the order of the Supreme Court. So, we will go to the LG Office and request him to follow the orders of the court and in the process also listen to the desires of the people of Delhi,” he said.

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