Refusing to end the standoff over the appointment of Swati Maliwal as the chief of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on Friday refused to sign the file sent by the AAP government for his approval, claiming it had not been “processed properly”.
The L-G noted his objections in an ‘open letter ‘ to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, as the acrimonious dispute between the two over Maliwal’s appointment continued to play out, in Jung’s words, “in the public domain”.
He claimed that he decided to release his letter to the public as Kejriwal had done the same with his communication to the L-G a day before. The L-G also expressed concern about the CM’s letter leading to “unsavoury comments” and even invoked “national pride and honour”.
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“Your letter to me found itself in public domain. I am, therefore, releasing a copy of this letter in public also. Your letter, being in public domain, leads to unsavoury and avoidable comments not just within the country, but also overseas. I speak with concern about national honour and pride,” said the L-G.
Jung also expressed his “disappointment” over the “inappropriate references” made by the CM towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Confirming he had received the file on Maliwal, Jung stated, “I am sure you have done due diligence in selecting Maliwal and the other members, and I would have no hesitation in confirming the appointment based on your recommendation. However, I find that the file has not been processed properly”.
Referring to the noting on Maliwal’s appointment by Women and Child Welfare Minister Sandeep Kumar, who stated that he is the “appropriate authority” to take decisions related to DCW, the L-G said, “This needs to be rectified since it would not hold good in law and a fresh, revised notification needs to be prepared and submitted to this office”.
Jung also clarified what he meant when he purportedly claimed that his office constituted the Delhi government, in his earlier letter, and even cited a letter by the Home Ministry.
“By no stretch of imagination does this mean that the Government can function outside the domain defined in the Constitution, a document drafted by the best minds of our country. It simply means that Delhi, being not a State, is a Union Territory, and the L-G is a representative of the President of India, and indeed the Government of India,” he stated.
The L-G maintained that though he had agreed with Kejriwal on the issue of non-reserved subjects, the CM was still issuing notifications without seeking his approval. “I find that time and again you have been issuing notifications that have not been put up to me for approval,” he said.