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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Arvind Kejriwal takes on L-G over holding ‘parallel’ meetings with officers

He was referring to a meeting that L-G Anil Baijal held with the Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary (Home & Health), Divisional Commissioner, Secretary (Health) and MD-DMRC.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: August 5, 2021 7:07:45 am
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Wednesday that Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal holding “parallel” meetings with officers “behind the back” of the elected government was unconstitutional.

He was referring to a meeting that L-G Anil Baijal held with the Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary (Home & Health), Divisional Commissioner, Secretary (Health) and MD-DMRC.

Kejwiral, whose government has raised similar issues earlier as well, tweeted, “It is against Constitution and the Supreme Court Constitutional Bench judgment to hold such parallel meetings behind the back of an elected government. We are a democracy. People have elected a Council of Ministers. If you have any questions, please ask your ministers. Avoid holding direct meetings with officers. Let’s respect democracy, Sir.”

Last month, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia wrote to the L-G regarding similar meetings held with officers and accused him of encroaching upon the domain of the elected government.

He had said that Baijal had been calling bureaucrats to his office, issuing directions, and “putting pressure” on them to implement his orders.

He also referred to the judgment of the Supreme Court Constitutional Bench which said that the L-G is bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers, except in matters such as land and law and order.

In March, the Parliament had cleared the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021, in Lok Sabha, reviving the dispute on distribution of powers between the elected government and the L-G. Under the law, the elected government needs to take the L-G’s advice before taking action on any Cabinet decision.

In response to his letter, Baijal had called the “insinuations and statements” devoid of “any merit and without any evidence” and also regretted that the matter was being discussed publicly.

He had said that the meetings he held were within the purview of law and that he met officers from different departments and authorities to “facilitate and coordinate effective planning, preparedness and implementation of specific programmes and tasks in larger public interest.

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