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GOVERNMENTS

Development work will be 10 times more now, officers who ‘obstructed’ work will face consequences: Arvind Kejriwal after Supreme Court verdict

NEW DELHI: With the Supreme Court ruling in his government’s favour on administration of some services in Delhi on Thursday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal pledged the speed of work will increase 10 times now that his hands are no more tied as he warned officers who ”stopped” people’s work of consequences and announced a major bureaucratic reshuffle in the coming days.

In its first action hours after the apex court’s order, the AAP government removed services secretary Ashish More and appointed 1995-batch IAS officer A K Singh in his place.

While the BJP said it respects the verdict and claimed that a transfer-posting industry will come up in the city, the Congress termed it as ”historic and colossal”, saying it exposed the ”nexus of unholy, undemocratic, ugly nature and the under belly of the BJP”.

The AAP called the court order a ”tight slap” on the mission to topple governments through ”unconstitutional ways” and, a ”massive defeat” for the dictatorial actions of the BJP-led Centre.

In a unanimous verdict, the Supreme Court ruled that the Delhi government has legislative and executive powers over administration of services except for public order, police and land.

At a press conference, Kejriwal thanked the judges of the apex court for doing justice to Delhi and also expressed gratitude towards people of the city for supporting the AAP government in every step.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is like a father figure and it is his responsibility to look after all like his children.

”There will be a big administrative reshuffle in a few days. Many officers will be transferred on the basis of what they have done till now. There are some officials who have stopped public works in the last year-and-a-half.

”There were instances where medicines of mohalla clinics, tests, DJB’s money were stopped. Such officers will have to bear the consequences of their misdeeds. Opportunity will be given to responsive and compassionate officers and employees who want to serve the public,” Kejriwal said.

He claimed the Supreme Court has sternly said that powers of the Delhi government snatched by the Centre in 2015 was unconstitutional.

He said his hands were tied earlier and he was thrown in the water to swim but despite the ”hurdles” created before the AAP government in Delhi it did ”spectacular” work.

”We gave a new model of education and health to the country. The work will happen at 10 times speed it was happening earlier. Delhi will now present a model of able governance to the entire country,” he said.

AAP leaders said the court verdict makes it clear that the Delhi government has powers like any other state government.

Calling it a landmark decision, the party’s leaders, including Kejriwal, made it clear that the ministers will now be able to transfer officers who are ”inefficient” or ”obstructing public works”.

Explaining what the verdict means, AAP chief spokesperson and Services Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said all types of officers were reporting to the Centre via the LG earlier.

”There was no way of controlling officers in terms of the welfare of the people. Now, all this power, which are generally called ‘services’ – executive and legislative powers – all lie with the elected government of Delhi and this has been reiterated by the Supreme Court that the LG is bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers in all the subjects other than police, public order and land.

”This has now been made amply clear by the court,” Bharadwaj said.

The apex court order came after years of intense fighting between the Arvind Kejriwal dispensation and the Lieutenant Governor’s office, particularly since V K Saxena took over as LG in May last year.

The AAP government has repeatedly accused Saxena of meddling in its day-to-day affairs. Kejriwal once even alleged that the LG issued orders on ”practically every” subject to the chief secretary, bypassing his government.

Their strained relationship led to frequent confrontations between them over a range of issues, including the excise policy, training of teachers in Finland, free yoga classes, mohalla clinics, transfer of bureaucrats, sanctioning of funds, control over the Anti-Corruption Branch, and the extension of power subsidy to consumers.

Speaking to PTI, Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel said bureaucrats not appearing before House committees will now have to ”fall in line” and asserted that works stopped on the lieutenant governor’s directions will be resumed.

After the court order, several former and serving top bureaucrats said that ”dignity and coordination” between the elected government and the office of LG will ensure that there is no more fighting over governance issues.

AAP supporters danced to dhol beats, burst firecrackers and distributed sweets at the party office and the Delhi secretariat here to celebrate the ruling.

Source: Press Trust of India

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