Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung submitted his resignation to the Centre on Thursday ending his tenure as the administrative head of the capital three-and-a-half years into his five-year term. He governed the capital as its de facto head during President’s rule as well when the first AAP government resigned after only 49 days. According to a press release issued by Raj Bhawan, the former IAS officer and former vice chancellor of Jamia Milia University will return to academics.
As eventful as his term was, it will particularly be remembered for his regular tiffs with the Delhi government, especially Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Here is a list of the major run-ins they had over their two-and-a-half year association.
One July 1, 2013, Najeeb Jung was appointed as the LG of Delhi. In December the same year, the Assembly elections were held and Delhi delivered a hung verdict. Had the Congress not given unconditional outside support to the AAP, Jung would’ve dissolved the legislative assembly to impose president rule. That month a minority government was formed by AAP led by Arvind Kejriwal.
The first conflict came in the form of introduction of Jan Lokpal Bill. On February 3, 2014, Kejriwal and his Cabinet gave the nod to the draft Jan Lokpal Bill. However, three days later, solicitor general Mohan Parasaran wrote to Jung. In the letter, Parasaran termed the move as unconstitutional as Kejriwal wanted to introduce the bill in the Assembly without sending it to the Centre for vetting first.
On February 10 the same year, Kejriwal met Jung and the latter referred the matter to the Union Law Ministry to avoid any dispute and for obtaining maximum clarity on the issue asking for their final say. Two days later, the law ministry replied agreeing with Jung that Kejriwal government couldn’t introduce the Bill without taking Centre’s mandatory nod.
Nevertheless, Kejriwal decided to present the bill on February 13 in the house but due to multiple disruptions he was could not do so. The very next day the AAP government resigned. All 42 non-AAP MLAs voted against the Bill’s introduction. Three days later, on Jung’s recommendation President’s rule was imposed in Delhi, much to the ire of Kejriwal who held Jung responsible for their inability to get the bill passed.
In July that year, Home Ministry reduced the powers of Delhi government’s Anti Corruption Bureau and AAP held Jung responsible. Delhi saw reshuffle of over 200 IAS officers and several departments remained headless for over a month that year. Exactly one year after resigning, Kejriwal was again sworn as CM on February 14, 2015. He requested the appointment of a 1984 batch IAS officer Ramesh Negi as the chief secretary but the request was denied. Home ministry appointed Sanjeev Nandan Sahai as the acting Chief Secretary instead.
On 17 April that year, BJP asked Jung to probe AAP’s Delhi Dialogue Commission and AAP termed him as biased towards BJP. In May, the verbal spat continued with Kejriwal saying, “Don’t bother LG with paperwork and so much files.” Same month, Jung asserted his authority over AAP saying he holds administrative superiority in the capital. Delhi High Court ruled that LG must respect mandate of elections.
June 2015: Appointments made in Delhi’s ACB from Bihar police without taking AAP into confidence. AAP retaliates. Jung appoints new ACB chief. AAP retaliate asking for ACB’s charge. Yogendra Yadav and Kejriwal call Jung an agent of Centre. Jung was accused of switching loyalties between Congress and BJP for political gains.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal sporadically kept bringing up the topic of full statehood of Delhi. In late January 2016, the Central government told the Delhi High Court that the Capital is under their control as it is not a full fledged state.
April 5, 2016: APP requests Delhi HC to refer the case to larger bench petitions regarding authority of Jung on the capital’s governance.
April 19, 2016: AAP withdraws plea seeking larger bench setup in High Court.
July 8, 2016: Supreme Court refuses to hear Delhi government’s plea and deliberate whether it has jurisdiction to resolve disputes between Centre and a state or is the matter exclusively be tried by SC.
In August 2016, the high court said that the LG is the administrative head of Delhi. It held that the AAP government’s argument that he must act according to the counsel of the council of minister was without substance.