Centre's notification unconstitutional: Experts to AAP govt

Two eminent lawyers on Saturday termed "unconstitutional" and "illegal" the Centre's notification giving absolute powers to Delhi Lt Governor in appointment of bureaucrats and on subjects like police and public order and said the Chief Minister's authority cannot be undermined.

New Delhi: Two eminent lawyers on Saturday termed "unconstitutional" and "illegal" the Centre's notification giving absolute powers to Delhi Lt Governor in appointment of bureaucrats and on subjects like police and public order and said the Chief Minister's authority cannot be undermined.

After AAP government sought their opinion, constitutional expert KK Venugopal and former Solicitor General of India Gopal Subramanium questioned the very foundation of the gazette notification issued by the Home Ministry and wondered whether it has requisite approval of the President.

In his opinion, Venugopal said if a democratically elected government has been brought into power by the people, then the 'public services of the state' should be controlled by the elected government.

Giving a thorough review of the notification linking provisions in the Constitution and Supreme Court's ruling in a number of cases, he said the notification is "unconstitutional, illegal and void".

On appointment of Chief Secretary, Venugopal said "undoubtedly, the Chief Secretary is the lynchpin of executive governance. He is to have the confidence of the Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers, and so too other secretaries to the government.

"If government is given a Chief Secretary who obeys the orders of the administrator and not of the council of Ministers or the Chief Minister, this would be a sure recipe for disaster."

The appointment of senior bureaucrat Shakuntala Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary by LG last week had triggered a full-blown war between the ruling AAP and the Lt Governor, with Kejriwal questioning the LG's authority and accusing him of trying to take over the administration.

In the notification, the Home Ministry said that the LG will have jurisdiction over matters connected with services, public order, police and land and he may consult with the chief minister whenever he thinks necessary in issues of services using his own "discretion".

In his opinion, Subramanium said the notification "is illegal and unconstitutional. Presumably, it has been issued without the requisite Presidential approval."

In a sharp reaction to issuance of the notification, Kejriwal accused the Centre of "back-stabbing" the people of the city by "siding" with the Lt Governor and protecting the corrupt. 

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