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Why the 69th constitutional amendment must be undone to end friction between Centre and Delhi govt

The friction between Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Center has come to head in recent weeks

Finally, the Union Government has come out with an ordinance to clip the wings of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Better late than never. It was unfortunate that the central government took so many years to realise that the mistakes made in the early nineties needed to be corrected.

Though successive chief ministers of Delhi, in the past, could carry on functioning without much difficulty, but with Kejriwal, things went awry. From day one, the Delhi CM embroiled himself in a running feud with the Central government over power sharing.

Recently, the Supreme Court of India through its judgement pronounced the obvious– that both the center and state should follow the scheme of things as laid down by existing laws. After this judgment, AAP leaders led by Kejriwal had triumphantly announced their victory by flashing the V sign in all the debates on the news channels. They were in such a precipitous hurry to cash in on their newly acquired “invincible power” that they did not even bother to comprehend the judgement.

The same day, one of their ministers issued a letter, under his own signature, to order the transfer of the Services Secretary. He swiftly ordered the posting of an officer of his choice- in complete disregard of the established rules and procedures. This was only one of the umpteen examples of the totally arbitrary way of working of the Kejriwal government.

The minister concerned had no regard for the sanctity of the procedure established by law regarding the transfer of senior IAS officers mandated by the Supreme Court of our country. Surely, the people working in the system must have apprised him about the processes to be followed for transferring senior officers including clearance of the proposal by the civil services board headed by the state’s Chief Secretary.

But Kejriwal and his cohorts believe that those voted to power are endowed with the power to do whatever they want – the constitution is not the people’s will but their orders are sovereign will. They forget that democracy is only about “rule of and by law” and elections are held only to determine who shall responsibly execute the larger will of the people, as mandated in the constitution.

There have been many rulers who considered themselves above the constitution and law and declared “I am the State.’’ They   were all obliterated from history.  Kejriwal, through his willful actions seems to have surpassed even himself, in this regard. Every politician must always remember that he is a creation of the constitution only, and should never destroy the path which brought him to power. Any one attempting to   become law incarnate is bound to fail.

This current Delhi state government has been in constant friction with the central government for years now, pressing for the demand to have full statehood like others. The Supreme Court had earlier also heard the petition filed by the parties concerning the division of power between them.

The matter needs to be settled at the earliest as Delhi is the national capital and hence belongs to the people of India. Notwithstanding the current ordinance issued by the central government, the time has come   to have a relook at various past decisions, including the decision to create the state of Delhi.

After the Constitution (69th Amendment) Act, 1991 came into force, followed by the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991, the Union territory of Delhi officially became the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The Act gave Delhi its own legislative assembly and directed that the administrator thereof appointed shall be designated as the Lieutenant Governor (LG).

This arrangement needs to be undone at the earliest as all capital cities across the world, where the federal system of governance is in vogue, remain under the direct control of federal governments. Till such time the current constitutional arrangement remains in place, this unfortunate spectacle of the federal government fighting in court, over power sharing with a tiny municipal government, will continue.

The central government must look at what has happened in the immediate past and must resolve to undo the 69th constitutional amendment, dissolve the Delhi assembly and revert back to the pre 1991 situation. This is long overdue. Any further delay will be hazardous to our national capital’s health.

This will also end the prevailing unsavory situation of the national government of India being challenged by a whimsical minion, who is squandering billions of tax payers money to project himself as a savior.

Also read: Why Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal cannot dodge responsibility for the excise scam

(Vijay Shankar Pandey retired from the Indian Administrative Service. He has an established record of raising his voice against corruption in public life. Views expressed are personal and exclusive to India Narrative)