Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday objected to the Delhi Lieutenant Governor holding meetings with officers and instructing them on works that “fall under the purview of the elected government”, saying it was “unconstitutional” and against the verdict of the Supreme Court. This comes a day after the Delhi Cabinet rejected Lt Governor Anil Baijal’s recommendation for appointing special public prosecutors suggested by Delhi Police in cases related to violence during the tractor rally on Republic Day and the northeast Delhi riots.
“It has also come to my cognisance that you have been issuing instructions to officers in the meetings about works that fall under the purview of the elected government and later the officials from LG office pressure officers for implementing those decisions,” Sisodia claimed in a letter to Baijal. Sisodia, whose AAP government is mired in a long-running power tussle with the Centre-appointed LG, urged Baijal to desist from such actions.
The Constitution has not given powers to the Lt Governor of Delhi to hold meetings with the officers and instruct them regarding works that come under the jurisdiction of the elected government, Sisodia said. “With utmost honor and respect and, I urge you to stop activities to take decisions on subjects related to the elected government of Delhi. Also, stop holding meetings with officers and instructing them on such subjects. Your meetings and decisions taken there are unconstitutional and violation of the Supreme Court,” he said.
Citing a Supreme Court order of July 4, 2018, the Deputy CM said that the powers of the LG were limited to police, land and public order. The Constitution has given “veto” power to the LG to reserve any matter on which he disagrees with the decision of the elected government, for consideration of the President. However, the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court has stated that the LG will use it occasionally and under extraordinary circumstances, Sisodia said.
In April this year, however, Delhi’s lieutenant governor became the effective in-charge of the national capital with the Centre notifying a new law making it clear the elected government will now have to seek the opinion of the L-G before any executive decision. The Union Home Ministry’s notification giving effect to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021 came into effect on April 27.
Sisodia in his letter described the LG as a “good-natured and well-meaning” person, saying he was writing the letter to him only because it concerned the preservation of democracy and the Constitution. He also alleged that the BJP leaders and workers would be putting pressure on him to work against the elected government in Delhi.
“Let me remind you, however, that you are not just a BJP worker, you are honourable Lt Governor of Delhi,” he said. If the Centre-appointed Governors and Lt Governors sideline elected governments to take decision on all matters, it will be the end of democracy which was earned by our freedom fighters and ancestors after a long struggle and many sacrifices, he said.
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