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Jung Has Exceeded Authority, Says Legal Experts

The two eminent lawyers submitted their legal opinion to the Kejriwal government on the tussle over the transfer and posting of Delhi bureaucrats.

Published: 19th May 2015 06:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th May 2015 06:50 PM   |  A+A-

najeeb-jung-with-arvind-kejriwal

NEW DELHI: Senior lawyers Indira Jaising and Rajeev Dhavan have criticized Delhi Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung for rejecting an appointment of an official by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, with one of them saying that Jung had "exceeded his authority".

The two eminent lawyers submitted their legal opinion to the Kejriwal government on the tussle over the transfer and posting of Delhi bureaucrats. The AAP government had sought their advice after disagreements between Jung and Kejriwal snowballed into a major row.

Jung's office, however, refused to comment on the issue when contacted by IANS, saying an official statement would be issued later on Tuesday.

In his written advice, Dhavan said: "It is abundantly clear that the Lt. Governor has exceeded his authority and has turned the entire relationship between himself and the council of ministers on its head to jeopardise democracy and the constitution."

An Aam Aadmi Party leader said that it sought the opinions from Jaising and Dhavan.

In her letter, Jaising said the political executive was "constitutionally empowered" to choose its own officers in accordance with the cadre.

"Who will be the chief secretary or any other secretary of the government is a matter in which the governor has to yield to the will of the political executive which has been democratically elected," she said.

She also said that the discretionary power to appoint a chief secretary can be found neither in the constitution nor in any statute.

"These are not matters, by any stretch of imagination, which fall under the individual discretionary powers of the governor. Even otherwise, relying upon the provision to article 239 AA (4), the Lt. Governor cannot issue directions to appoint a chief secretary," she said.

Among other provisions, article 239 AA (4) states: "Provided that in the case of difference of opinion between the Lt. Governor and his ministers on any matter, the Lt. Governor shall refer it to the President for decision and act according to the decision given thereon by the President and pending such decision... take such action or to give such direction in the matter as he deems necessary."

The tussle between Kejriwal and Jung started over the appointment of senior bureaucrat Shakuntala Gamlin as the acting chief secretary on May 15.

The chief minister accused Gamlin of lobbying for power distribution companies.

The row escalated into a situation where another bureaucrat, Principal Secretary (Services) Anindo Majumdar, was locked out of his office at the Delhi Secretariat on Monday. 

This was reportedly done on the orders of Kejriwal as Majumdar had followed Jung's instruction to appoint Gamlin as acting chief secretary.

Earlier on Monday, the tussle between Kejriwal and Jung intensified when the latter rejected the appointment of Rajendra Kumar as the Principal Secretary (Services).

Jung termed Kumar's appointment "void" but later the Delhi government replied that it won't pay heed to what he (Jung) had said as it was "unconstitutional".

Kejriwal on Sunday attacked the Modi government over Gamlin's appointment as acting chief secretary of Delhi, saying it was meant to trip up his government which took power in the capital in February.



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