In the immediate aftermath of the verdict, the Delhi government asked its services department to issue an order saying respective ministers will take a call on matters pertaining to departmental transfer and postings.
The prolonged conflict between Lieutenant Governor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal that finally seemed to be nearing its end with Supreme Court ruling that the L-G has no independent powers to make decisions and is bound by the elected government’s advice is far from over. In the immediate aftermath of the verdict, the Delhi government asked its services department to issue an order saying respective ministers will take a call on matters pertaining to departmental transfer and postings. The order categorically stated that L-G won’t decide on this matter.
However, in a bitter reality check, the services department has claimed that such order would be contrary to law. While this hint of tiff took place just hours after the apex court verdict, one wonders whether the bone of contention has actually been resolved. Former Delhi Chief Secretary Shailaja Chandra writes in The Indian Express that the top court’s observation that the L-G is bound by the advice of ministers, and that the exercise of his powers under the Constitution cannot be mechanical, still leaves considerable scope for conflict.
“Although it has been emphasised that this power is not to be exercised mechanically, anything that has sensitivity or can cast a financial burden which is beyond the government’s capacity or cause political problems with the Centre or other states will fall in this area.” The former top bureaucrat further explains that although decisions taken within the purview of the Transaction of Business Rules 1993 — which mandates that the L-G be informed of the decisions by ministers — can be implemented without waiting for this approval, two crucial subchapters pertaining to examination and concurrence by the Finance and Law departments can open a lot of proposals to questioning.
Regardless, a buoyant Aam Aadmi Party government has started the process of implementing its key projects which were frozen due to the L-G-CM conflict. Asserting that two years were wasted, Sisodia said, “Now that the obstructions that the Lt-Governor had been imposing on the two schemes have been removed, we have issued orders to implement them immediately.” The remark to media came on Wednesday afternoon soon after a meeting of the Cabinet where orders were issued to expedite two delayed projects- “doorstep delivery of ration” and “installation of CCTV cameras”.
Apart from these, AAP had promised setting up of 1,000 mohalla clinics by 2017-18 and regularisation of guest teachers. “But for nearly two years, an obstructionist Lt-Governor, following instructions of the Modi government, slowed down the rate of development. This will change now,” Sisodia said.
So far, only 164 mohalla clinics have been set up in the city. In this year’s budget, AAP government has set a target of 530 clinics for the next financial year. With an aim to provide senior citizens an option meet medical expenses, the Delhi government had approved a health insurance scheme. But AAP government has claimed that Lt-Governor had “virtually rejected” the project.
The Kejriwal government has also promised the creation of 54 model schools this year. Of them, only 19 schools are functional. The government had also alleged that L-G was “opposing” the Bill to regularise guest teachers.
In the Health sector, a proposal for establishing Delhi Healthcare Corporation has been stuck since 2016. In Education sector, provision of mid-day meals by Akshaya Patra Foundation has been halted since 2017. The conflict also prevented installation of 600 LED screens for disseminating information. According to AAP government, the L-G office obstructed the establishment of a Wetland Regulatory Authority to conserve wetlands. Revision of pay scale for DANICS officers since 2015 has also been stuck, IE reported.