A day after Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung disbanded the Delhi Waqf Board, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Saturday said the decisions taken by the AAP government over the last year-and-a-half should not be struck down only because they were not approved by the Lt Governor. He said that instead of leading Delhi to “complete chaos”, the Lt Governor should regularise the various decisions taken by the government since it came to power in February 2015.
While addressing a press conference at his residence Saturday, Kejriwal urged the Centre not to ridicule the “serious business” of governance.
The Chief Minister said the August 4 decision of the Delhi High Court — holding that Delhi is an union territory under the Lt Governor’s authority — should not be implemented retrospectively. After the High Court’s decision on August 4, the Lt Governor had set up a three-member committee to review 400 files to check whether his approval was sought for them.
Kejriwal said, “The way the government was being run before the August 4 decision of the High Court, we legitimately believed that on some issues, the approval of the Lt Governor was not required. They (Centre) believed it was. Many files were not sent to the Lt Governor. Not because our intentions were bad but it was a technical issue that was before the court. Now there is such an interpretation… that the files should have been sent to the Lt Governor. But only for that one reason — that at that time the file was not sent to the Lt Governor — if all the decisions taken in one-and-a-half years are made null and void, you can imagine the ramifications it will have. It will be a disaster for the Delhi government and its people. This process is currently underway and it is unfortunate.”
“Let’s assume we built a flyover and didn’t send the file to the LG, will the flyover be demolished now? If we didn’t send the file for building 8,000 new classrooms to the Lt Governor, will the classrooms be demolished… will mohalla clinics be demolished,” asked Kejriwal.
He added that the government had revised land circle rates from Rs 53 lakh to Rs 3.5 crore per acre to meet the demands raised by farmers, but the decision was declared null and void by the Lt Governor.
“Will the farmers who received the compensation amount for their land be asked to return it,” he asked.
Regarding the appointment of the chairman of the DERC, Kejriwal said that the Cabinet had sent the proposal to the Lt Governor in February. In law, he said, the Lt Governor could have a difference of opinion but he chose to exercise it months after the appointment.
“You cannot exercise your difference of opinion in infinity. Will the appointment of the DERC chairman be canceled? Then the orders of the DERC, taken in the last eight to ten months, won’t stand? What is Delhi heading towards? There will be complete chaos if it goes on like this,” said Kejriwal.
“If there were decisions taken in one-and-a-half years with a particular view point, that these files don’t need to go to the Lt Governor, I think they should be regularised. In the future, the government will function as per the orders of the High Court or the orders of the Supreme Court… The August 4 order cannot be implemented retrospectively. It can only have a prospective effect. It’s my request to the Centre, don’t make a mockery of this. Governance is a very serious business and it will create complete chaos if it goes on like this,” said Kejriwal.
The AAP government’s decisions, which have taken a hit as they didn’t have the Lt Governor’s approval, include the revision of circle rates, payment of lawyers who represented the Delhi government in the High Court and the Supreme Court, and the construction of mohalla clinics.
He insisted that the elected government must have a say in the transfers and postings of officers in the government.
“Delhi ministers have no role in transfers and postings of officers. That is taking the situation a bit too far. We have to get officers to work… and without our knowledge, if they are transferred or posted….if I tell the food commissioner that all PUS devices should be installed by March 31 and tomorrow he is transferred….the elected government has to have a say in transfers and postings or it will be very difficult,” said Kejriwal.