Open war between Lt. Governor and Kejriwal as Gamlin takes charge

PTI New Delhi | Updated on January 23, 2018

NEW DELHI, 01/10/2013 : (To go with Aarti Dhar's story) L to R -- Amal Pusp, Director, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, S K Rao JS Ministry of Health & Family Welfar, C K Mishra, Additional Secretary (Health) and Shakuntala Gamlin, Joint Secretary (Health) during the launch of New Anti-Tobacco Health Spots for "Tobacco-Free Film Rules" at Health Ministry, in New Delhi on Tuesday. Oct 01, 2013. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty   -  THE HINDU

The confrontation over appointment of an acting Chief Secretary today turned into a full blown war between AAP government and Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asking him to work “within the confines” of Constitution and alleging that he was trying to take over the administration.

Hours after senior bureaucrat Shakuntala Gamlin took charge as acting Chief Secretary despite being asked not to do so by the AAP government, Kejriwal shot off a strongly-worded letter to Jung, accusing him of trying to render the elected government “ineffective” and violating laid down norms.

Arindam Majumdar, Principal Secretary in Services department who issued the appointment letter of Gamlin following instructions from Jung, was also removed from the post.

The Delhi Chief Minister said he has sought an appointment with the President to apprise him of the issue.

Jung had yesterday appointed Gamlin to the post despite strong opposition to her nomination by Kejriwal dispensation which alleged that she had close links with BSES discoms. The 1984-batch officer has, however, denied the charges saying they were baseless.

In his letter, Kejriwal mentioned about various rules and laid down procedures for governance.

“Despite such clear procedure, you have opted not to follow the law but have tried to take over government and get the order issued directly by the Principal Secretary (Services) who I believe was intimidated into acting in concert with you.

“I cannot but conclude that this is a thinly disguised attempt to reduce the democratically elected government ineffective and administer the National Capital Territory of Delhi directly,” Kejriwal said in his letter.

The Chief Minister said, “I would strongly request you to remain within the confines of the Constitution and the laws relating to Government of NCT of Delhi. You are holding a Constitutional position. Whatever be the political pressure, you have a duty to uphold the Constitution.”

Chief Secretary K K Sharma has left for the U.S. on a personal visit due to which the government had to appoint an acting Chief Secretary. Gamlin has been serving as Power Secretary.

The AAP government hit out at BJP accusing it of attempting a “coup” through the LG.

“The BJP through LG of Delhi has attempted a coup against the democratically elected government of Delhi with highest ever mandate in the history of the state.

“This is for the first time that LG is issuing direct instruction to officers, bypassing the chief ministers and council of ministers,” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the charge of Services department, told PTI.

Acted as per provisions of Constitution: LG

Rebutting Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for asking him to work “within the confines” of the Constitution” with respect to the appointment of Shakuntala Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary, Lt Governor Najeeb Jung today said he has “acted fully conscious of his duties and responsibilities under the Constitution of India“.

Jung also revoked the Delhi government’s order transferring Principal Secretary (Services), Arindam Majumdar, saying it does not have his approval and declared it as officially void. Majumdar had issued the appointment letter to Gamlin on the instructions of the Lt Governor.

“Lt Governor has acted fully conscious of his duties and responsibilities under the Constitution of India. Till date not a single action taken by the Lt Governor’s Secretariat is in non-conformity with the provisions of the Constitution,” said a statement issued by L-G Secretariat.

“In the instant case, the Chief Minister was duly consulted on file and the relevant notesheet is in public domain. The delay on the part of the Chief Minister of over 40 hours necessitated a direction from the Lt Governor that orders be issued,” the statement said.

“It is a given that the office of the Chief Secretary cannot be left vacant. The Chief Secretary is required not just for normal work but for any emergency that may come up.

“The Lt Governor’s Secretariat regrets the insinuation against a respected senior civil servant and the complaint will be examined as per procedure,” it said.

The statement also said that it has been reported that the Principal Secretary (Services) Anindo Majumdar has been removed from his position.

“This does not have the approval of the Lt Governor, who is the Competent Authority to transfer officials of that rank,” it said, declaring it as officially void.

Earlier in the day, Gamlin took charge as acting Chief Secretary despite Kejriwal’s letter asking her not to do so as her appointment was “against” the rules.

Published on May 16, 2015

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