Who Controls Delhi: CM Kejriwal or LG Saxena? Supreme Court Decides
Although the Supreme Court has given its order in favor of the elected government, the confusion persists.
By Rakesh Raman
In a judgment pronounced today (May 11), the Supreme Court of India said that the Delhi Government headed by the chief minister (CM) will exercise control over service matters in the city-state.
So far, Delhi Lt. Governor (LG) was handling the service matters including transfers and postings of Delhi bureaucrats. With this judgment, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal will have control over the bureaucracy and LG Vinai Saxena will supervise only Public Order, Police, and Land in Delhi.
The Supreme Court observed that the elected government should have more powers than the selected officials like the LG – who has been handpicked by the Central government led by prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi.
In a tweet posted in Hindi, Kejriwal – who is the leader of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) – welcomed the Supreme Court decision and said that now development work will accelerate in Delhi.
Although the Supreme Court has given its order in favor of the elected government, the confusion persists. Earlier, the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021 had stated that the term “government” in Delhi means the LG of Delhi and the elected government of Kejriwal cannot take any decision independently. In other words, the Kejriwal government will have to take LG’s consent before taking any executive action.
Now, the new Supreme Court order has conflict with the law passed in 2021. Therefore, there is a likelihood that LG Saxena will exploit the ambiguity in law and continue to enjoy full administrative powers in Delhi.
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In the past, Kejriwal and AAP often complained that LG Saxena was not allowing them to perform freely and interfering in their work through direct interactions with bureaucrats.
The dogfight between Kejriwal and Saxena was so wild that the development work in Delhi was completely hampered. Today, Delhi has become the world’s most polluted national capital and corruption is rampant in almost all departments of Delhi Government.
Also, Kejriwal and a slew of other AAP leaders are facing investigations while Delhi LG Saxena has ordered a probe into the reported Rs. 45 crore misappropriation of public funds by Kejriwal on the renovation of his house.
Similarly, the standard of education is pathetic in Delhi schools and the Mohalla Clinics that Kejriwal praises are in a deplorable state. There is a lack of basic amenities such as water, electricity, and transport in Delhi.
While the city is littered with stinking household waste, it has become a colossal dustbin as swarms of mosquitoes breed in homes making life miserable for Delhi residents.
Now the people of Delhi are facing a serious mosquito threat as the mosquito density in the city has increased manifold. The Delhi homes are full of mosquitoes and many people may be dying with mosquito bites. But the negligent Delhi Government has failed to deal with the mosquito menace in the city.
Meanwhile, a new global report (Ecological Threat Report 2022: Analysing Ecological Threats, Resilience & Peace) has warned of an imminent ecological disaster in Delhi.
The report says factors such as poor infrastructure, lethal air pollution, weak regulatory framework, and administrative failure are going to make Delhi unsustainable for its population of over 30 million.
Thus, Delhi continues to be a living hell for millions of people who live here and now the ambiguous Supreme Court order is expected to cause more conflicts between the LG and the Kejriwal government. So, the people of Delhi should not expect any relief.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of the humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society. He has also launched the “Power Play: Lok Sabha Election 2024 in India” editorial section to cover the news, events, and other developments related to the 2024 election.
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