In an order likely to deepen fissures between the Delhi government and the Lieutenant Governor’s office, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has issued a directive to recall the L-G’s order against Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi’s vice-chairperson Jasmine Shah.
Last month, Delhi L-G V K Saxena had ordered that Shah “be restricted from discharge of functions as V-C” and also be barred from using “any privileges and facilities connected with the office of VC, DDCD, with immediate effect”.
He also asked Kejriwal to sack Shah from the post for allegedly “misusing his office for political purposes”, and directed the Delhi government’s planning department to prevent him using any “privilege and facilities” till a “decision is taken by the CM” in this regard.
Saxena’s decision came following a complaint filed by BJP MP Parvesh Verma the previous month.
An order issued by Kejriwal, dated December 8, states: “I have examined the aforesaid order dated 17.11.2022, the complaint dated 13.09.2022 as also the material referred to therein. Before dealing with the said complaint and order, it is necessary to place on record the fact that the Hon’ble LG, is not vested with any jurisdiction or authority in law to take cognisance of the complaint dated 13.09.2022 or for that matter pass any order/direction thereupon.”
“I take this view for the reason that the notification dated 29.04.2016 constituting the DDCD and more specifically clauses 8(b) and 8(c) make it abundantly clear that while the Vice Chairperson, DDCD is appointed by a decision of the Cabinet, the incumbent VC can be removed only with the approval of the Chairperson, DDCD. Furthermore, the DDCD has been constituted by the GNCTD in exercise of power vested in it under Entry 20 List III of the VII Schedule to the Constitution of India which deals with ‘economic and social planning’,” it states.
“However, in due deference to the high constitutional office of the LG, I have proceeded to examine the complaint as also the order of 17.11.2022 in order to satisfy myself as to whether the VC, DDCD has committed any infraction which would entail the action suggested by the Hon’ble LG. Having undertaken this exercise meticulously, especially keeping in view the allegations levelled by the complainant, I am of the considered view that the VC, DDCD has not committed any infraction which would entail either his removal from office or other punitive action emanating from the order of 17.11.2022,” it states.
“I am of the view that the punitive action visited upon Shah is without any justification and requires to be recalled forthwith. It is my cherished hope and desire that the Hon’ble LG will be an active participant in the endeavour to convert Delhi into a world class city and to that end, the implementation of initiatives conceptualised by the DDCD will be facilitated,” it states. “I, therefore, direct the nodal department i.e. the Department of Planning, GNCTD to immediately recall the order dated 17.11.2022 and all actions emanating therefrom so that the status quo ante as prevailing on 16.11.2022 is restored without any further delay.”