Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal has directed secretaries and principal secretaries of the Delhi government to authenticate orders that are to be executed in his name, failing which strict action would be taken, said a written communication from Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash.
A government official explained, “ In the present scenario, the L-G is the head of the government. So any order, when taken by the AAP government in the name of the L-G, will need to have the signature of the officer concerned.”
An AAP leader said, “The direction will ensure that officers think twice before signing off on files. Earlier, officers would pass a file on the order of the minister and then send it to the L-G for approval… Now that’s not enough. If the L-G needs to stamp his approval every step of the way, what is the point of an elected government? This is just a way to slow down the government machinery.”
The communication said that action against the officers could include recovery of financial losses caused to the exchequer.The L-G’s office and the Arvind Kejriwal government have been at loggerheads on issues pertaining to policy decisions such as mohalla clinics and transfer and posting of officers.
In 2016, the Delhi High Court stamped the primacy of the L-G on the city administration. The government has challenged the HC order in the Supreme Court. In the communication to all heads of departments and secretaries to Delhi ministers, earlier this month, Prakash said, “To have legal validity, all executive decisions have to be taken by the authority competent to take such decisions, and orders issued in pursuance thereof have to be authenticated by an officer authorised to do so under the Government of NCT of Delhi (Authentication of Orders and other Instruments) (Amendments) Rules, 1992 as amended in the year 2000.”
It added, “The L-G has directed that any officer, who disregards the provisions of law/rules shall do so at his own risk and will be liable for appropriate action by the competent authority, including disciplinary proceedings and recovery of financial loss to the the government exchequer as a result of his/her action.”
The amendments in Authentication of Orders and Other Instruments Rule 1992, states, “Orders… made and executed in the name of L-G shall be authenticated in such manner as may be specified in rules to be made by the L-G and the validity of an order or instrument which is so authenticated shall not be called in question.”