A government where the Chief Minister cannot even transfer his own peon cannot function, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Thursday, heavily criticising the Supreme Court verdict that left the matter of who exercises control over transfer and posting of bureaucrats in the Delhi government hanging.
Speaking at a press conference at his residence, Kejriwal said “ye kaisi judgment hai?” and called it “unconstitutional” and amounting to “injustice” to the people of Delhi.
“What sort of a judgment is this which says that the CM cannot even transfer his own peon? We respect the Supreme Court, but it is a very wrong judgment. We will talk to lawyers and take whatever legal steps that we can,” he said, making it clear that the Aam Aadmi Party will revive the issue of full statehood ahead of the general elections.
In their split verdict, the two-judge bench decided to refer the matter on control over the services department — which has been a point of contention between the AAP and the Centre as well as the L-G since May 2015 — to a larger bench. It also established the Centre’s primacy with respect to the Anti-Corruption Branch and setting up commissions of inquiries.
However, the judgment leaves room for the three-member bench to rule in AAP’s favour, something that party leaders are hoping for. “The judgment, while disappointing, is not a big blow. The situation on the ground remains the same and we fight the battle a little longer,” said a senior AAP member.
Kejriwal said the SC order implies that the Opposition BJP, which has four MLAs in Delhi, has a say on transfers and posting of officers within the Delhi government, something the elected government is being deprived of.
“There’s a basic structure of the Constitution. One cannot tamper with that. If all the power rests with the Opposition parties, then they will naturally appoint officers who don’t work. If the education minister has no say over the appointment of education secretary, then how will he reform the education system? If someone comes to the CM over corruption committed by an officer, then what do I do? Do I tell the Opposition to take action?” the AAP supremo asked.
Appealing to the people of Delhi — who he said hold the “key” to the solution — Kejriwal said they should elect seven AAP MPs to the Parliament in the Lok Sabha polls, which will ensure that they force the next Union government to grant full statehood to the capital, “no matter who helms the Centre”.
He also took on Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit over her comments that the powers of the Delhi government are not “unlimited”, saying that while he respects the former CM, she should understand that “such comments for short-term politics are not correct”.