Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government would challenge the Centre’s ordinance, related to transfer and posting of officers serving the Delhi government, in the Supreme Court.
Mr. Kejriwal termed the ordinance an “insult” and a “direct challenge to the majesty and power” of the highest court in the country.
Addressing a press conference, Mr. Kejriwal said that the ordinance was “undemocratic” and an “attack on the federal structure” as it takes away power from an elected government to perform its duties effectively. “The entire battle is now Supreme Court vs Centre. It is extremely dangerous. Kejriwal is just a small player in this. This way, the Central government will bring in an ordinance to negate any unfavourable judgement, since they have the majority,” the Chief Minister said.
The ordinance seeks to establish the National Capital Civil Service Authority (NCCSA), which will be headed by the Chief Minister of Delhi, with the Chief Secretary and Principal Home Secretary of Delhi being the other two members that will decide by majority vote the transfer, posting and vigilance matters of all Group A officers and Dadra and Nagar Haveli (Civil) Services officers serving the Delhi government. It also establishes the L-G as the administrator of Delhi who will have the final say.
Mr. Kejriwal questioned the timing of the ordinance as it was issued hours after the Supreme Court shut for a six-week summer vacation. “The Central government was fully aware that if it brought in the ordinance before the court vacation and if the Delhi government challenged it, it would not last in the court for even five minutes as it is completely unconstitutional,” Mr. Kejriwal said. He added that there were eight days between the time the judgment was delivered and it was overturned by the Centre. The Lieutenant Governor and senior officials used tactics to buy time till the SC went on vacation, he alleged.
Charting the way forward, Mr. Kejriwal said that the AAP would hold a “grand rally” against the BJP and that he would reach out to Opposition leaders to ensure that the Bill, when introduced in the Rajya Sabha, is not passed. “This ordinance by the BJP-led government is a slap on the face for the residents of Delhi. It is essentially the BJP telling the people that if you elect a government other than that of the BJP, it will do everything in its capacity to stop the work of the people,” he said.
Mr. Kejriwal also expressed surprise over the Centre filing a review petition in the SC. “When the Central government has brought an ordinance and overturned the order, then what is the point of the review petition. What exactly are they reviewing, when they have upturned the ruling?” he asked.