The transfer appeared to be the first of many, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal warning of a major administrative reshuffle at a press conference shortly after the judgment
A landmark judgment of the Supreme Court on the control and posting of bureaucrats on its side, the Arvind Kejriwal government removed the Secretary of the Delhi government’s Services department Ashish More on Thursday evening. The transfer appeared to be the first of many, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal warning of a major administrative reshuffle.
Speaking at a press conference shortly after the judgment, Mr Kejriwal indicated that there will be action against officials who “obstruct” public works. “The vigilance will now be with us. Disciplinary proceedings can be initiated against officers who do not work properly,” the Chief Minister had said.
Over the years, Mr Kejriwal has frequently complained that he could not appoint even a “peon” or transfer an officer. Bureaucrats did not obey his government’s orders as their controlling authority was the Home Ministry, he had said.
Earlier on Thursday, the Supreme Court said the Delhi government has legislative and executive powers over administration of services and only “Public Order, Police and Land” are excluded from its jurisdiction.
In a democratic form of governance, the power of administration must rest on the elected arm, said the bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud. If a democratically elected government is not given the power to control the officers, the principle of the triple chain of accountability will be redundant. If the officers stop reporting to the ministers or do not abide by their directions, the principle of collective responsibility is affected, the judges added.
The Services department was placed under the control of the Lieutenant Governor — the Centre’s representative in Delhi — by a Central order in 2015, a year after the Aam Aadmi Party government came to power in Delhi by a landslide vote.
The Lieutenant Governor is bound by the elected government’s decision on services and should function with the aid and advice of the council of ministers, the court said on Thursday.
The Central government’s power in matters in which both the Centre and states can legislate “is limited to ensure that the governance is not taken over by the Central government,” the judges added.
The BJP said they respect the court verdict, but were concerned that it would lead to a “transfer-posting industry”.
“Kejriwal has obtained what he was desperately looking for. He said there will be large-scale transfers of officers in his government, which means that a transfer-posting industry will come up in Delhi,” Delhi BJP chief Virendra Sachdeva was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India. Officers in the Delhi government will now be given postings based not on their capabilities but on how obedient they are to the chief minister, the BJP leader claimed.
Source: NDTV News
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