Kejriwal meets Rajnath to discuss tussle over ‘services’

Kejriwal meets Rajnath to discuss tussle over ‘services’

Kejriwal meets Rajnath to discuss tussle over ‘services’CM says Union Minister satisfied with his arguments; will meet again on July 16

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to push for the Aam Aadmi Party government’s demand that the power to control services should be transferred to it from the Centre.

The meeting happened a week after the Supreme Court Constitution Bench ruled on July 4 that the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers was binding on the Lieutenant-Governor on all but three subjects — land, police and public order. The Constitution Bench then referred all matters, including of who controls services, to an appropriate Bench.

Addressing the media after exiting Mr. Singh’s residence, Mr. Kejriwal said, “We told him that the L-G and the Centre are interpreting the order in a strange way. The L-G and the Centre are saying they will obey half the order and disobey the other half”.

The Chief Minister said that the portion of the judgment that said that files would not be sent to the L-G was being agreed to by the Centre and L-G.

But, he added, the portion of the judgment that said the elected governmentwas empowered to take decisions on all but three reserved subjects was not being obeyed by the Centre and L-G.

“For that, they are saying they will wait for the Division Bench’s judgment,” he said.

He added that he had conveyed these issues to the Home Minister, who, he said, was “satisfied with the arguments”.

“He [Mr. Singh] said he will talk to his officers. He will be out of town for three days and return on Sunday. He said he will meet me on July 16,” said Mr. Kejriwal.

Meeting for 30 minutes

When asked to comment on his government’s move earlier this week to mention the matter in the Supreme Court, he said, “If they [the Centre] agree, then the court matter is a formality”.

An official in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that Mr. Singh told Mr. Kejriwal that he would comment on the subject after consulting legal experts. The meeting between the Home Minister and the Chief Minister lasted for 30 minutes and Mr. Singh gave a patient hearing to Mr. Kejriwal, the official said.

Mr. Singh also said that the matter pertaining to services was still pending in the Supreme Court.

The tussle over services had started after the MHA issued a notification on May 21, 2015, making the L-G, the Chief Secretary and senior bureaucrats the approving authority for transfers of IAS, DANICS and other government officials. The Delhi government had gone to the High Court, which in 2016 ruled in favour of the L-G.

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