No interference, acted in public interest, says Delhi LG Anil Baijal | Delhi News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Lieutenant governor Anil Baijal on Thursday rebutted deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia’s accusation that he had been indulging in “unconstitutional” acts by holding meetings with officers without involving the ministers concerned on subjects that are within the elected government’s jurisdiction.
Calling his charges baseless, in a letter to the deputy CM, the LG said the AAP government had attached incorrect connotations to his actions carried out in good faith and to facilitate coordination between the central and state government agencies for ensuring effective implementation in the interest of people’s welfare. Baijal was responding to a letter that Sisodia had written to him on July 17.
The LG recalled that no such issue had been raised earlier over similar meetings he had called as a constitutional functionary.
All meetings strictly within ambit of constitutional provisions: LG
Baijal said that instead of appreciating the objectives and outcomes of the meetings, aspersions had been cast upon him which was unfortunate.
“At the outset, I would like to strongly refute the insinuations and statements made in the letter against this office which are devoid of any merit and without any evidence,” wrote the LG in a six-page letter.
He asserted that all the meetings were strictly within the ambit of constitutional provisions and responsibilities entrusted to the LG’s office and were held with the basic objective of facilitating effective planning, preparedness and implementation of specific programmes and tasks in larger public interest, given the multiplicity of agencies in Delhi and the necessity to ensure interagency coordination for seamless and harmonious functioning.
“All the meetings were convened through videoconferencing on the open platform of NIC and not within the confines of Raj Niwas. The meetings were convened only to monitor the implementation of programmes and schemes where no policy decisions were required to be taken. If policy issues were involved, then the hon’ble minister concerned would have also been invited,” said the LG.
The LG also objected to Sisodia’s communication being made public. “Whatever might have been the reason, this communication should not have been made public in view of the sensitivity of the issues related to the role and responsibilities of constitutional functionaries. You could have discussed this matter with me and I would have cleared your doubts through a one-to-one discussion,” the LG stated in the letter.
Baijal pointed out that nine followup meetings were held on issues like vaccination, oxygen infrastructure, enforcement, etc., all related to assessment of the present Covid-19 situation with the objective to ensure effective implementation of the advice given by national-level experts and the decisions taken at Delhi Disaster Management Authority meetings. The LG is the DDMA chairman. Some of these meetings were attended by the CM, deputy CM, health minister and others.
“Was it a violation of constitutional and democratic principles to convene meetings on issues pertaining to the management of Covid in the larger public interest?” the LG asked.
He said that being a nominee of the President, it was his duty to ensure that the laws made by Parliament are executed in their true spirit. “The judgement of Supreme Court has also desired that the LG should act as a facilitator,” he pointed out, adding that hence two meetings were convened to facilitate implementation of national schemes like PM SVANidhi (micro credit scheme for street vendors) and ‘One Nation One Ration Card’.
Referring to Sisodia’s remarks that the LG was interfering in the working of the elected government, Baijal said he had called up the chief ministers of Haryana and UP over water supply to Delhi on CM Arvind Kejriwal’s request.
The LG had also held three meetings — on rejuvenation of water bodies, rainwater harvesting, etc. — with DJB, DDA environment department and urban local bodies. “It is not understood how convening meetings to enhance availability of water for the citizens of Delhi can be seen as interference in the working of the government?” the LG asked, listing several meetings he had convened in recent months.
On Sisodia’s remark that only police, public order and land were under the purview of the LG, the letter said that governance cannot be divided into watertight compartments as the subject matters are interlinked. Explaining that some meetings were called by him for coordination between Delhi Police and departments of Delhi government, the LG asked whether it was wrong to call these meetings to ensure women’s safety in Delhi?
Referring to Supreme Court’s 2018 judgement on the Delhi power tussle, the LG stated that in matters of public importance, the approach of the government must be conciliatory and reflect the spirit of mutual interdependence and cooperation in the interest of cooperative federalism.
He said Sisodia did not cite any specific evidence or instance in his July 17 letter where directions given by the LG in the meetings in any manner obstructed implementation of decisions taken by the elected government. He stressed that through all the meetings, his ultimate goal and objective always remained strengthening cooperative federalism and people’s welfare.
The LG said he remained undeterred and strongly committed to his constitutional duty and to the highest principles of democracy for the welfare of the people of Delhi.


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