Say the order on posting and transfer of bureaucrats would rest with Delhi government was legally incorrect

New Delhi: A day after the Supreme Court ruled that Delhi government did not require Lieutenant Governors approval on every decision, bureaucrats posted with Delhi administration on Thursday rejected the Arvind Kejriwal governments order taking back the power from Lt. Gov. to transfer officers.

On Wednesday night, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia put out orders stating that posting and transfer of bureaucrats would be looked after by Delhi government, but the services department rejected it, saying that the order was “legally incorrect” and Lt. Gov. remained in charge of services department.

Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash wrote a note to Sisodia saying that the order did not quash the 2015 Union Home Ministry notification that took the services department away from Delhi government.

“The Chief Secretary has written to me saying the services department will not follow the orders. If they are not going to abide by it and the transfer files will still be seen by the Lt. Gov. then it will amount to contempt of the Constitution bench,” Sisodia told media.

The Deputy CM said the top courts order made it clear that all subjects, apart from land, police and public order, fell under the purview of the state government.

“The Supreme Court order has made things very clear about how the system is supposed to function in Delhi and what the constitutional framework is. It is unfortunate that despite that officers have refused to listen to those orders. If the orders of the courts are rejected by the officers, how will democracy function? This will lead to chaos,” Sisodia stated.

Interpreting the verdict, he said the services subject can in no way be under the Centre.

“Officers are saying that they wont follow orders since the Union Home Ministrys notification of 2015 has not been specifically quashed. This is a violation of court orders. The highest court of the land has issued orders, now there is no room for doubt,” he added.

Although the 585-page verdict by the apex court accorded supremacy to the elected government, it did not specifically mention the services department.

“Maybe the Centre didnt like it or the Lt. Gov. didnt like it or some officers didnt like it. But it doesnt matter if you like it or not, you have to follow the courts orders. Two years ago, the High Court gave orders against the elected government of Delhi. We still respected the orders,” Sisodia said.

The Deputy CM stated that if Lt. Gov. continued to sign on files on transfers and postings of bureaucrats, Delhi government will take him to court on grounds of contempt.

On Wednesday, the SC had ruled that Lt. Gov. had no independent decision-making power beyond land, police and public order, and had to act on the advice of the elected government.

Meanwhile, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that the Centre still had an upper hand over both Delhi government and Lt. Gov.

“If the Lt. Gov. has good and cogent reasons supported by material to disagree, he can record the same in writing and refer the same to the President, which will resolve the difference of opinion between the state government and the Lieutenant Governor. The decision of the central government will be binding both on the Lieutenant Governor and the elected state government. Thus hereto the opinion of the Centre is overriding,” Jaitley told media.

He said silence on issues cannot imply a verdict in favour of anyone.

“There are several issues which had directly not been commented upon but by implication there is some indication of those issues. However, unless issues of importance are flagged, discussed and a specific opinion is rendered, none can assume that silence implies an opinion in favour of one or the other. There are two obvious indications,” Jaitley added.

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