By continuing obstructionism against AAP, LG is going against spirit of SC ruling
The euphoria that the Supreme Court ruling of 4 July triggered among the Aam Aadmi Party and its followers has proved to be short-lived. In less time than it may take to read the 535-page judgment, the Union government has amply demonstrated its commitment to obstructionism in Delhi, pretty much in violation of the spirit of the SC judgment.
Immediately after the judgment, the elected government jumped to seize the opportunity by staking claim over the power to appoint and transfer officers. The attempt was promptly thwarted by the officers themselves with prompt and pronounced backing by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and the Union Home Ministry.
MHA, in fact, has clearly indicated that this subject is still under litigation and the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government will either have to wait for the judgment in that case or go to the SC again.
The Chief Minister and the council of ministers have rolled the dice on three other initiatives which have all the potential needed to snowball into confrontations with the LG. These include installation of CCTV cameras across the capital, doorstep delivery of PDS rations and releasing funds for development works in all temporary and unauthorised colonies.
The CCTV project has already been threatened by the shadow of a committee set up by the LG to prepare SOPs for the initiative. The AAP-led government had already expressed its disapproval of the committee, calling it illegal. However, the committee went on its work and has now submitted its report, which appears to have prepared the ground for another tussle.
The committee has reportedly recommended that all CCTVs will be under the control of Delhi Police, noting that the “appropriate authority” on installation, operation and monitoring of CCTVs will be the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Licensing). The Delhi Police does not report to the CM but to the MHA via the LG.
This report was submitted last week, much before the SC judgment came, and if the LG wants to honour the SC’s nudge to desist from obstructionism he can very well ignore this recommendation to avoid confrontation with the elected government.
However, if he accepts it and orders its implementation, that will amount to yet another clear act of locking horns with the CM.
The ration-delivery scheme and the fund for unauthorised colonies have similar potential for confrontation. Also to be noticed is the fact that the elected government’s strategy also appears to be to initiate a barrage of works in one go and then see which ones LG obstructs and which ones materialise.
This means that the AAP sees these confrontations as a blessing in disguise, probably believing that the more they are able to tell their voters that the BJP is not letting them work through the LG, the higher the sympathy for AAP.
BJP certainly believes in the opposite - the more it is able to hinder AAP, the lower its appeal goes down. Until specific spheres of control are clearly demarcated through more judicial pronouncements, no end to this tussle appears to be in sight. It looks like until that happens, all that the AAP-government can do unhindered is to hold mango festivals.