With the row over circle rates escalating,the Sheila Dikshit government appears to be at loggerheads with Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna. Twice this month,Khanna refused to accept a Cabinet decision to increase circle rates and instead suggested significant changes.
A government source said the Cabinet was within its right to enforce the increased circle rates since the matter is a transferred subject for which the L-Gs approval is not mandatory. But in case such a decision is sent for his approval,the L-G can intervene if he so wishes,as per the Article 239 AA of the Constitution, the source said. The provision also authorises the L-G to refer for the Presidents consideration any issue of disagreement between him and the Cabinet.
Article 239 AA of the Constitution says: Provided that in the case of difference of opinion between the Lieutenant-Governor and his Ministers on any matter,the Lieutenant-Governor shall refer it to the President for decision and act according to the decision given thereon by the President… The provision further empowers the Lieutenant-Governor to direct the government to suspend implementation of such disputed issues till the Presidents opinion is known.
The Lieutenant-Governor enjoys these powers also from the Transaction of Business of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Rules,1993,enforced by the President. Dikshit and her ministers were so upset when Khanna returned the file the first time that they decided to not send any decisions on transferred subjects for his approval in future,said a source.
It was decided a circular will be sent to all departments in this regard, said the source.
A top government official said the issue could blow into a full scale face-off between Khanna and Dikshit,who returned to Delhi from Japan on Thursday evening and is now expected to tackle the issue.
In fact,an unscheduled meeting of the Cabinet has been called on Friday. The agenda of the meeting in not known.
Constitutional crisis: Malhotra
With both Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and L-G Tejendra Khanna on a confrontational mode over the circle rates issue,Opposition leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra said the tussle might lead to a constitutional crisis.
The Chief Minister had taken the decision to increase circle rates across Delhi in a most ad hoc and unbalanced fashion and declared her governments intentions even before complying with the constitutional norms of sending the file to the Lieutenant-Governor, Malhotra said.