New Delhi (24.05.2023): It appears that the Centre is on back foot due to possible opposition unity in view of transfer and posting matters of Delhi officers. After the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Delhi government, the Centre promulgated ordinance that constituted National Capital Civil Service Authority. The authority has entrusted Anil Kumar Singh (IAS: 1995: AGMUT) with additional charge of Principal Secretary (Services), Development Commissioner, Principal Secretary (Cooperation) and Principal Secretary (Environment & Forests). The AAP government wanted the same as it recommended his name.
The Centre seems to have eaten a humble pie yet again in the matter after the Supreme Court ruled that as an elected government, the Kejriwal dispensation has every right like any other elected government over transfer and posting of its officers. The Kejriwal government immediately moved the file for the appointment of Singh but LG did not take any call on the matter citing 2015 notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Political analysts are of the view that being an appointee of the Centre, the Delhi LG must have been aware about ordinance being promulgated and it happened which nullified the SC judgment. Now, political bigwigs enter the ring to tame the Central government. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar met Kejriwal and then Congress President Mallikarjuna Kharge, however, former Delhi Congress chief and former Union minister Ajay Maken is opposed to Congress playing second fiddle to AAP. But Congress went ahead with its decision of supporting Kejriwal on ordinance at its own peril.
So for some appointment of Singh is like Centre moving on the Backfoot for finding AAP’s politics too hot to handle but certain others find it a strategic move that is unfathomable as yet. But the skirmishes are here to continue for some more time. They may go till the Lok Sabha elections are announced and the Election Commission of India takes over the administration of the entire country. Why so? Because on every transfer and posting, the AAP is going to make hue and cry as they are not going to lose anything contrary to the BJP.
Further on, Delhi Services Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj termed the first order passed under the Ordinance illegal and ordered an inquiry regarding its issuance. While Monday’s order gave Special Secretary (Vigilance), YVVJ Rajasekhar (IAS: 2012: AGMUT), the go-ahead to resume as usual and de-seal his room, Bharadwaj, in his capacity as Services Minister, on Tuesday, stated he was still the competent authority and that the IAS officer remained divested of all his official duties.
On Monday, Rajasekhar had, citing the Ordinance issued by the Centre, issued orders that the room designated as the confidential section of the Vigilance Department also be de-sealed and had passed instructions to the assistant directors of the department to prepare an inventory of all records and files.
A day later, however, Bharadwaj cited the May 11 judgment of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of India which, he stated in a memorandum, held that the power in respect of Services for all civil servants serving in the Government of NCT of Delhi lies with and shall be exercised by the elected arm of the government.
Many such instances will happen to embarrass the Centre and every such move will make a dent in the image of the all powerful government at the Centre. The messaging matters a lot in a democracy and the strategy of the opposition is to attack from all possible directions so it is unable to withstand them. If so happens, there is a possibility of the Centre succumbing to pressure or committing mistakes and any mistake is enough for a clever opposition like Kejriwal.
(Vinod Kumar Shukla)