Never tried to negate authority of Kejriwal: L-G Jung writes letter to Delhi CM on DCW row
Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on Friday appeared to have softened his stand, saying he never tried to negate authority of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
New Delhi: In the midst of a bitter row with AAP government, Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on Friday appeared to have softened his stand, saying he never tried to negate authority of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and will clear the file on appointment of DCW chief Swati Maliwal once it is properly processed.
The Lt Governor, however, criticised Kejriwal for making "inappropriate" references to the Prime Minister in a letter he sent to L-G on Thursday. Kejriwal had on Thursday accused Jung of acting at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the L-G rejected Maliwal's appointment saying his approval had not been taken.
Heeding to L-G's demand, AAP government had on Thursday sent the file to him for clearance. Jung, in a letter to the Chief Minister, on Friday said he would have no hesitation in confirming Maliwal's appointment based on his recommendation but said the file was not properly processed.
In the two-page letter, Jung sounded a conciliatory note and said his intent was to give the Chief Minister "full cooperation" to ensure the success of the AAP Government and "to enable you to fulfil the promises the Government has made to the people of Delhi. I remain committed to this end.
"It has been my consistent endeavour to agree to all your requests in the spirit of democratic functioning and giving full respect to your wishes as Chief Minister."
On Kejriwal's criticism of him for the comment that 'Government' in Delhi meant the L-G, Jung said the Chief Minister misunderstood what he wanted to convey.
Jung said it was never been his intent to "negate the position of the Chief Minister or the authority of the elected government".
Elaborating on it, he said, "My office quoted the legally established definition of 'Government', as stated in the statute book including the clarification issued by the Government of India, in 2002 which reads 'Government' means the Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi appointed by the President under Article 239 read with Article 239AA of the Constitution'.
"By way of clarification, this implies that the L-G is the delegate of the President and the President/the Central Government acts through the Lieutenant Governor in Delhi," he said.
On appointment of Maliwal, Jung said he was sure Kejriwal has done due diligence in selecting her and the other members of the panel and that he would have no hesitation in confirming their appointment.
"However, I find that the file has not been processed properly and it still contains notifications under which Chairperson/Members of Delhi Commission for Women were appointed under your orders after the note of the Minister of Social Welfare & Women and Child Development wherein he mentions that he is the appropriate authority to take the decision as Government," said Jung.
Jung said "this needs to be rectified since it would not hold good in law and a fresh, revised notification needs to be prepared and submitted to this office at the earliest to enable me to confirm the appointments." Jung had struck down Maliwal's appointment on Tuesday for not taking his approval.
Promising "full cooperation" to AAP Government, Jung cautioned Kejriwal that after winning such a massive mandate, it should not be a "wasted opportunity in any way".
The L-G said that he did not have any issue on CM's proposals on non-reserved subjects where the Lt Governor needs to act on the aid and advice of the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers.
"It is a continuation of this practice that such notifications have in the past always been referred by former Chief Ministers to the office of the Lt Governor and that is why all notifications in the GNCTD are issued 'by order and in the name of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi'.
"To state further, I do not recall any matter of policy or decision taken by you where I have not agreed to your proposal," Jung said, adding the notification pertaining to Maliwal's appointment was not put before him.
"Decisions such as these, that have been taken at your level and not put up to the office of the Lt Governor, are contrary to law and established practice and could expose the Government to legal challenge.
"All these files may please be sent to me urgently to accord ex post facto approval to avoid legal complications and to safeguard government's interest," he said.
Jung also called "completely untrue" that the office of the Chairperson of the DCW was locked or files were taken away as alleged by Maliwal.
"The legal position was conveyed in writing to her, through the Member-Secretary of the DCW, in the best interest of the organisation and the Government. The DCW is a quasi-judicial body and any infirmity in appointment of the Chairperson and Members could nullify actions taken by them and leave us all in an embarrassing situation.
"The instructions issued to the office of the DCW are endorsed in the same letter of my office that was sent to your office. Nonetheless I fully agree with you on the critical importance of the office of the DCW, and the need to fill the Chairperson/Members posts urgently," he said.
On transfer and posting of officials, he countered Kejriwal's oft repeated comment that he cannot even transfer a peon.
"The correct position is that I have always honoured your proposals on transfers/postings of IAS/DANICS officers. On the proposals of subordinate officers, I have categorically always mentioned that these proposals may be dealt at the Secretariat level, as per established practices.
"It has been my consistent endeavour to agree to all your requests in the spirit of democratic functioning and giving full respect to your wishes as Chief Minister.
"I wish to state that at a later point of time, you and I should not look back at this moment when you have won such a massive mandate, and see it as a wasted opportunity in any way," said the L-G.
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