Centre issues ordinance on transfer, posting of Group A officers in Delhi, AAP cries foul
The Centre on Friday promulgated an ordinance to create an authority for transfer and posting of Group-A officers in Delhi, with the AAP government calling the move a deception with the Supreme Court verdict on control of services.
The ordinance, which comes a week after the Supreme Court handed over the control of services in Delhi excluding police, public order and land to the elected government, seeks to set up a National Capital Civil Service Authority for transfer of and disciplinary proceedings against Group-A officers from the DANICS cadre.
Transfer and postings of all officers of the Delhi government were under the executive control of the lieutenant governor before the May 11 top court verdict.
Earlier in the day, the Delhi government and Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena locked horns over the verdict on services matters, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleging a ''conspiracy'' to overturn the ruling and the LG accusing the AAP dispensation of disregarding rules and procedures.
The ordinance states that ''there shall be an authority to be known as the National Capital Civil Service Authority to exercise the powers conferred on, and discharge the functions assigned to it''.
The authority will comprise the chief minister of the government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi as its chairperson, along with the chief secretary and the principal home secretary, who will be the member secretary to the authority, it said.
''All matters required to be decided by the authority shall be decided by majority of votes of the members present and voting. All recommendations of the authority shall be authenticated by the member secretary,'' the ordinance said.
''The central government, in consultation with the authority, shall determine the nature and the categories of officers and other employees required to assist the authority in the discharge of its functions and provide the authority with such officers and employees, as it may deem fit....
''Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, the National Capital Civil Service Authority shall have the responsibility to recommend the transfers and postings of all the Group 'A' officers and officers of DANICS serving in the affairs of the government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi but not officers serving in connection with any subject matter,'' it read.
The National Capital Civil Service Authority will meet at a time and place as the member secretary decides with the approval of the chairperson of the authority, as and when required, the ordinance added.
Reacting to the development, AAP chief spokesperson and Services Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said the Centre had ''deceived'' the people of Delhi.
''This is a deception committed with the Supreme Court and the people of Delhi who have chosen Kejriwal thrice to be the CM. He doesn't have any powers but the LG, who has not even been chosen but forced upon people, will have powers and through him the Centre will keep tabs on the work happening in Delhi. This is contempt of court,'' he said.
Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Atishi said the Centre's ordinance is a ''clear cut case of contempt of court''. ''The Modi government has gone against the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court's constitution bench,'' she said.
''But the Centre's ordinance is a reflection of the (Narendra) Modi government being a graceless loser,'' Atishi added.
Hours before the ordinance was promulgated, Kejriwal and his ministers had met with the LG separately over the transfer of Services Secretary Ashish More.
Saxena approved the AAP government's proposal to assign the additional charge of the Services department to IAS officer A K Singh, the LG's office said.
Following his meeting with Saxena, Kejriwal had told reporters, ''There is widespread talk of the Centre bringing an ordinance to overturn the SC verdict. I hope that these are complete rumours and there is no truth in them. It will be a great betrayal against the people of Delhi and the country if this happens.'' He had also tweeted in Hindi, ''Is the Centre conspiring to overturn the SC order? Is LG sir waiting for the ordinance and that's why he is not signing the file?'' Before his meeting, Kejriwal's five ministers had also met Saxena on the apex court order and control over the bureaucracy.
The LG had written to Kejriwal alleging ''unconstitutional brazenness, intimidation and disregard of rules and procedures'' by the AAP government following the Supreme Court verdict on services matters.
In the letter, Saxena alleged that in the past one week, a ''gloomy face of governance'' emerged in Delhi where ''organised, structured and specialised administrative machinery'' is yet again facing the ''brunt'' of ''highhandedness'' of the political executive.
Replying to Saxena's letter, Chief Minister Kejriwal said he was ''shocked'' by its language and the issues raised through it, and added it smacked of ''bickering''.
Earlier in the day, Bharadwaj requested Saxena to clear the file related to the transfer of Services Secretary More, saying several administrative changes were held up due to the delay.
More was transferred hours after the Supreme Court order on May 11 gave executive control to the AAP government over services matters -- including transfer and posting of officers -- barring those related to police, land and public order.
Bharadwaj also asked whether the LG and the Centre were ''conspiring'' to reverse the verdict by bringing in an ordinance.
Meanwhile, More, who was removed by the Kejriwal government, complained to the chief secretary, accusing Bharadwaj of having ''personal vengeance'' against him, and threatening ''to ruin his life''.
In his letter to Kejriwal, the LG cited alleged misbehavior of his minister with More. In his press conference during the day, Bharadwaj said that after the SC verdict, the services secretary was directed to be transferred and the file for it was sent to the LG on May 17.
Atishi alleged ''threats'' from the LG office were being issued to the officers to ''disobey'' the elected AAP government telling them that an ordinance was coming on Monday.
The transfer of More was later cleared by the Civil Services Board (CSB) in a meeting on Wednesday last and the file was sent for the LG's nod the same day, officials in the government said.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)