NEW DELHI — There seems to be no end in sight to the battle between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and its Lt Governor Najeeb Jung. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday moved a resolution in the Delhi assembly to amend section 155 of the Constitution so that Jung can be impeached. The section deals with the appointment of governors by the President of India.
The resolution will surely pass given AAP's huge 67-3 majority in the assembly. The small group of three opposition members of the Bharatiya Janata Party opposed the motion and were dismissed from the assembly by the Speaker for unruly behaviour.
Kejriwal and Jung are in the midst of a tussle over the power to appoint senior bureaucrats, since Shakuntala Gamlin was appointed acting chief secretary by Jung. In other states, the elected government has the power to do so, but Delhi is a special case where the government does not have the same powers. For example, the police force does not report to the state home minister in Delhi, unlike in other states.
Last week both Jung and Kejriwal met President Pranab Mukherjee. The next day, the union home ministry issued a notification giving absolute powers to Jung for appointing bureaucrats for on issues relating to law and order, including the police force.
Delhi Assembly adopts the motion to discuss the notification issued by MHA.May 26, 2015
In Tuesday's special session, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia moved a resolution against the notification, saying it violated the Constitution of India. "Tomorrow the central government can say that you don't have control over the sources of water so you can't supply water to the city," Sisodia said. AAP's Adarsh Shastri said the party might challenge the notification in a court of law, unless it was repealed or withdrawn.
AAP MLA Somnath Bharti moved a motion to declare the notification unconstitutional and invalid, and is an attempt by the central government to encroach on powers that should be with the Delhi government. It also requested the President to act and exempt Delhi from any such orders in future.
In a separate case, the Delhi High Court ruled in AAP's favour, and said that anti-corruption branch officials of the local administration have the power to arrest police officers. The court dismissed the petition of a head constable who was arrested on charges of demanding a bribe from a local shopkeeper.
Earlier in the day Kejriwal met Jung and discussed the function of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, which was set up by Kejriwal after coming to power in a landslide win. Kejriwal and Sisodia apprised Jung of the High Court ruling about the powers of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and his views on the issue, sources said. This is the first meeting between two since the confrontation began.
Kejriwal meets JungMay 26, 2015
(With agency inputs)