Taking cognisance of complaints that officers are not conducting public hearings for an hour on weekdays, the Delhi government has asked the heads of all its departments to seek explanations from the erring babus. In May, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had directed all his ministers and officers to meet the people, without prior appointments, from 10 am to 11 am at their respective offices from Monday to Friday. The administrative reforms department has now issued a circular, saying a number of complaints were received that the officers are not conducting the public hearings, despite the chief minister’s directions. “All the principal secretaries, secretaries and HoDs are requested to ensure that all the officers remain available for the public hearings from 10 am to 11 am,” the department said. It added that the presence of the officers at the public hearings was being closely monitored by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO). “A daily status report is being sent to the HoDs concerned through mail as well as by post, asking for action- taken reports for the absence of officers within three days through return mail. “All the principal secretaries, secretaries and HoDs are, therefore, requested to call for the explanations of the erring officers and send them to the administrative reforms department,” the circular said.
Kejriwal’s direction to the ministers and officers had come following complaints to the AAP ministers, including himself, that officers were not accessible to the people. The public hearings were announced as a part of an outreach programme, seeking to bridge the gap between the common people and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), in the aftermath of the humiliating defeat the party had faced in the Delhi civic polls in April.