Delhi Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal hit out at the Central Government for obstructing the presentation of the Budget of the Delhi Government and said that the Constitution of India does not give them the authority to do so. He highlighted that the Central Government until now has never raised an objection on the Budget and said that what happened this time around was against the basic structure of democracy. Shri Arvind Kejriwal added that the Budget of the Delhi Government will be presented on March 22nd and asked what the Central Government achieved by delaying the Budget by a day.
In his address in the Vidhan Sabha, CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal said that even Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar would not have imagined that a situation like this would arise in the future in which the Central Government will stop the Budget of a state government from being presented. He further said that it would be wrong to call this a Constitutional crisis and said that in reality this is an attack on the Constitution of India.
Providing the details of the obstruction from the Centre, Shri Arvind Kejriwal said that it was on March 10th that the Delhi Government sent the Budget to the Central Government and on March 17th the Budget was returned with some objections.
Hitting out at the Leader of Opposition Shri Ramesh Bidhuri, who said that the LG had some objections on the Budget, Shri Arvind Kejriwal said that the LG is no one to have any objections on the Budget and according to the Constitution of India is bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.
He said that the 2018 ruling of the Supreme Court makes it very clear that Article 239 AA states that the Lt Governor of India or the Administrator of Delhi is bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. He further said that the Constitution does not give the right to the LG to even object or advice the state government on matters other than those specified. The Delhi CM added that it is the legislators who have been given the authority to advise or object to the Budget that is being presented in the House.
He added that if the LG or the Central Government raises an objection on the Delhi Budget then it is unconstitutional and it is against the basic structure of democracy. He said that it is as per tradition that the Budget of the Delhi Government is sent to the Central Government and added that if this matter is challenged in the Supreme Court, it will most likely not be held over there.
However, he said that never until now has the Central Government or the LG Office made any objections to the Budget and the fact that they did it this time around is nothing but unconstitutional. Shri Arvind Kejriwal said that the AAP government in Delhi was not formed to fight but to work for the people. He revealed that after receiving the Budget on March 10th, it was only on March 17th that the Centre sent the Budget back and it was sent to the Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary (Finance).
He said that everyone is aware that these officers work under the Central Government and are scared of being transferred by them. He said that these officers were given a clear instruction to sit with the Budget until the day it was to be presented. He added that the Budget was to be presented on the morning of March 21st, and at 2 pm on March 20th, the officers informed the Finance Minister that the Centre had raised some objections to the Budget.
Adding that action should be taken against such officers of the Central Government, the CM added that despite the Finance Minister asking for the Budget file at the earliest, it was sent to him at 6 pm on March 20th. He added that there were four objections raised and that the state government responded to each point, without making any changes to the Budget. “We could have also argued on this point and taken the matter to the court, but that’s not what we have come to the government to do. We replied to the objections only because these points were raised only to satisfy the egos of some people,” he said.
He pointed out that the Budget was delayed only to bother the state government and run fake stories around it. The Delhi CM said that the news planted in the media on this issue was that the advertisement budget of the Delhi Government was larger than the infrastructure budget. He dispersed this fake news by pointing out that the infrastructure budget is Rs 20,000 crore and the advertisement budget is only Rs 500 crores.
He revealed that eventually the same Budget was sent to the LG without any changes and at 10:30 pm last night, it was finally approved by him. The CM pointed out that the Budget could have been approved without causing any of these problems and said that the whole point of this was to make the Delhi Government bend over in front of the Central Government.
Shri Arvind Kejriwal made an appeal to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and said that AAP has not formed a government in Delhi to fight with the Centre. He said that no state or nation has ever progressed by fighting among themselves. He said that the AAP government in Delhi was formed to work for the people and requested the PM to let the state government do its work.
Highlighting the Economic Survey revealed by the Delhi Government yesterday, Shri Arvind Kejriwal said that Delhi is on the road to progress and has far exceeded the national average in several spheres. He said that if the problems created by the Central Government were not there, then the development could have been ten times higher.
He gave the example of Doorstep Delivery of Ration and said that by stopping it, what good did the Central Government achieve. He pointed that the only person who benefited from it are the ones who steal ration and sell it for a profit. Similarly he pointed out that the state government had started free yoga classes for the residents of Delhi and over 17,000 people were benefitting from it. He asked what the Central Government had achieved by stopping those classes?
Shri Arvind Kejriwal said that the teachers of government schools in Delhi are the main force behind the Educational Revolution and said that to better train them the state government sends principals for training to foreign nations. He asked what the Central Government achieved by blocking the files to send principals abroad for training?
Similarly he asked what the Central Government achieved by blocking the payment of doctors and nursing staff of Mohalla Clinics? He pointed out that medical tests and free medicines provided to the residents of Delhi had to be stopped because the Central Government created problems for no reason.
Citing the example of the Farishtey Scheme, he said that the Delhi Government had a scheme to treat people who were injured in road accidents and had saved 13,000 lives so far. He said that the Central Government also stopped the funding for the scheme and asked why would anyone try to block a scheme that was trying to save the lives of people?
The CM had an important message for the Prime Minister of the country. “I request the PM to stop bothering us. He is a very big person and AAP is only a small political party working for the residents of Delhi. The PM is a big personality and he should not be bothering us in such a manner,” he said.
He revealed that the reason the BJP bothers the state government is that it has constantly been losing out to AAP in Delhi. Shri Arvind Kejriwal again had an important message for the PM regarding this issue. “I have a word of advice for the PM. To win Delhi, he has to win the hearts of the people of Delhi. By obstructing the works of the people of Delhi, PM Modi will never win Delhi. The BJP has a lot of money. If I have fixed 1,000 schools in Delhi, the BJP has the money to fix 10,000 schools. Similarly if I have fixed 550 Mohalla Clinics, then BJP has the money to fix 5,500 Mohalla Clinics. It should do this and then the people will stop voting for Kejriwal and maybe vote for them. By trying to stop the Mohalla Clinics built by AAP, the PM will not win Delhi in his lifetime for sure,” he said.
Advising the PM to work harder than the Delhi Government to win the hearts of the people of Delhi, Shri Arvind Kejriwal concluded by saying, “Today on the floor of this House, I want to tell the Central Government that we want to work in tandem with them. The Central Government should treat the Delhi Government like a younger brother and work together with it, as this is the only way we can work together for the people of Delhi,” he said.
The Delhi CM was speaking on a resolution passed in the Vidhan Sabha. The Resolution was presented in the Delhi Legislative Assembly against unconstitutional and illegal acts of the Central Government. Notably, the Committee of Privileges to investigate the role of Chief Secretary and Finance Secretary in blocking Delhi Budget in light of this resolution.
“The Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi having its sitting in Delhi on 23rd March 2023 with presentation of Annual Financial Statement as the sole item on agenda for the day: Taking note of the fact that a conspiracy has been hatched to thwart the welfarist agenda of the elected Government of NCT of Delhi by way of derailing the budgetary allocations for health, education and other pro-people measures; Taking further note of the fact that the Chief Secretary, the Finance Secretary and other officers concerned have, willingly suppressed the relevant communications, in collusion with the office of Hon’ble LG and the Government of India so as to create financial crisis in the National Capital and to portray it as a failure of elected Government; Expressing serious concern about the way the Government of India is resorting to vindictive action against more than 2 crore people of Delhi for the simple reason that they chose to elect a pro-people Government; Alarmed with the incongruity in the Transaction of Business Rules which runs contrary to the extant Statutes and the Constitutional provisions as well as the judgment delivered by the Constitution Bench of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Government of NCT of Delhi v. Union of India & Anr. dated 04 July 2018; Dismayed with the fact that the Annual Financial Statement (Budget), which is universally acknowledged as a secret document till it is presented to the Members of the Legislature on the floor of the House for their scrutiny and approval, is subjected to prior scrutiny by the lowest of functionaries of the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Government of India, which practice is wholly unconstitutional and unlawful; Calls upon every citizen of Delhi and the country to understand the machinations of the anti-people forces operating through Central Government; Condemns in no uncertain terms the high handedness unleashed by the Government of India against 2 crore people of Delhi which is unconstitutional, illegal and undemocratic; Recommends that the Transaction of Business Rules be amended to remove the unconstitutional and unlawful restrictions imposed on the elected Government through gross illegality and to adhere to the Constitutional provisions that empower the elected Government, as upheld by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India; and Resolves that the conduct and role of the Chief Secretary (Delhi), Principal Secretary (Finance) and others in the delay in scheduled presentation of Budget to the Legislative Assembly, be referred to the Committee of Privileges for detailed examination and report,” the resolution read.