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AAP govt has instructed officials to not take direct orders from Delhi LG: Sources

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NEW DELHI, Feb 24 (PTI): The AAP government on Friday asked officials to stop taking directives from Delhi Lt Governor V K Saxena and report any such orders from him to their respective ministers, a move that may trigger a fresh tussle between the ruling party and the LG office.

According to an official statement, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said the government has warned that any such orders received directly from the LG are a violation of the Constitution and directives of the Supreme Court.

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He said the implementation of orders, that is in violation of SC directives and the Constitution, will be viewed seriously.

The LG office and the AAP dispensation has been engaged in a tussle over a host of issues, including the government’s proposal to send school teachers to Finland for training.

On several occasions in the past, AAP leaders have accused the LG of bypassing the elected government of Delhi and issuing orders to officials.

The vexatious Centre-Delhi government row over control of services is being heard by the Supreme Court.

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“The Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government has instructed government officers to respect the Constitution of India and Supreme Court orders, and stop taking direct orders from the Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi.

“All ministers have written to their department secretaries, directing strict compliance with the Constitution, Transaction of Business Rules (TBR) and Constitution Bench judgment of the Supreme Court. Secretaries have been instructed to report any direct orders received from the LG to the minister-in-charge,” said the statement.

The order issued by the government states that as per the Constitution and orders of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of July 4, 2018, the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) has exclusive executive control over all subjects except for three — land, police, and public order.

“These three subjects are called reserved subjects. Those subjects over which GNCTD has executive control are called transferred subjects,” the government statement stated.

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In the case of transferred subjects, the proviso to Article 239AA(4) provides that the LG may differ with the decision of the Council of Ministers on any of the transferred subjects.

“However, this difference of opinion must be exercised through a process prescribed in rule 49, 50, 51, & 52 of the Transaction of Business Rules (TBR),” it noted.

Explaining the provisions, the statement stressed that the spirit of these rules is that the difference of opinion should not be mechanically exercised, and every attempt should be made to resolve those differences before issuing directions under rules 51 and 52.

Reiterating that the Supreme Court had issued a ruling regarding the governance of Delhi, the statement said it had stated that the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi must follow the procedure laid out in Rules 49 and 50 in the TBR of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Rules, 1993 (TBR).

These rules dictate the procedure to be followed in case of a difference of opinion between the Lieutenant Governor and a minister or the Council of Ministers, it said.

Rule 49 stipulates that the Lieutenant Governor must try to settle any point of difference by discussion and dialogue with the concerned minister. If a resolution cannot be reached, the Lieutenant Governor may direct the matter to be referred to the Council, it claimed.

Similarly, Rule 50 provides for a procedure to be followed when there is a difference of opinion between the Lieutenant Governor and the Council of Ministers. The LG must refer the matter to the central government for a decision of the President, it said.

The court’s ruling also clarifies the meaning of “aid and advise” employed in Article 239-AA(4). The LG of Delhi is bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, and he does not have any independent decision-making power. However, the Lieutenant Governor has the power to refer a matter to the President in exceptional circumstances, the statement said.

“However, the government’s order notes that in the last few months, the LG has given directions directly under rules 51 and 52 without following the procedure laid down in rules 49 and 50,” the statement said.

The government has observed that as per rule 57, it is the duty of every secretary to ensure that the provisions of TBR are properly followed, it said.

“Thus, the government has directed that if any secretary receives any directions from the LG under Rules 51/52 and if the procedure prescribed in Rules 49 & 50 has not been followed, in that case, the secretary should immediately place the matter before minister-in-charge, who shall bring it to the notice of the CM and the LG,” the statement said.

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