Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung today hit back at the Aam Aadmi Party government in the capital over its advice to dissolve the Shunglu Committee set up by him to examine 400 files pertaining to decisions the AAP dispensation has taken since coming to power.
The Delhi Cabinet has termed the three-member Shunglu Committee - which was looking into the files – as ‘unconstitutional’. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said a decision in this regard was taken at a Cabinet meeting today chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Jung, however, termed the Cabinet decision ‘misleading’ and said that truth must come out. He also extended the tenure of the committee by six weeks.
“The truth must come out and it must be put in public domain,” Jung’s office said in a statement issued today.
“It is evidently an attempt to mislead the public and take attention away from grave misdemeanours that are evident in some of the files. If everything, as claimed, is as per rules, then why is the elected government afraid of the truth coming out?” the statement added.
Notedly, the statement by the LG’s office points to some alleged misdemeanours that the LG feels need a thorough probe. “Some misdemeanours are of the gravity that these matters are already in the process of being referred to the CBI for investigation,” it said.
Jung also noted that the government’s work was not impacted by the probe. The committee, he said, will submit its report in the next six weeks.
Earlier in the day, Sisodia said that there is no provision in the Constitution, or in any statute or rule, which mandates setting up of an "external committee" to inquire into ongoing projects of public welfare, question officers and "threaten" to recommend administrative and criminal action against them.
He requested Jung to return all files of the government saying "various important works are being affected" due to this.
“The Committee has created a dangerous climate of fear and uncertainty among the bureaucracy, thus threatening to derail the government functioning in its entirety, noted the Cabinet,” Sisodia said.
“We have requested the LG to dissolve the committee as the Lt Governor has no power. The jurisdiction of LG is well defined under Article 239AA of Constitution of India, the GNCTD Act, 1991, and the rules framed under the Act,” Sisodia added.
If the committee continues its "illegal" functioning, not only will it imperil public welfare, it has also the potential to create a serious constitutional crisis in the national capital, noted the Cabinet, according to the Deputy CM. Sisodia said the "impounding" of over 400 files by LG is against the transaction of business rules and GNCTD Act.
"Cabinet also brought to the notice of the L-G that the August 4 Delhi High Court judgment which is being invoked by him to take such actions, has not become final and is presently under challenge before the Supreme Court," he said.
Notices have already been issued by the apex court and the matter is to be finally heard on November 25, he said. "It would have been prudent for the LG to await the final decision of the apex court before taking such unilateral actions bypassing the elected government," Sisodia said.
He claimed that several officers have reported to their respective ministers that they were summoned by the committee informally and grilled for many hours for decisions taken by them in public interest over the last one-and-a-half years.
"Such summoning of officers through oral instructions and then questioning them over the content of the files without duly recording and authenticating the officers' version is against the well-established norms of transparency and propriety," he added.