Delhi: Hardening its stance, Delhi government on Monday conveyed to Union Home Ministry it will not implement the Centre’s order overturning suspension of two DANICS-cadre officers, saying doing so will lead to “widespread indiscipline, insubordination and a state of “complete paralysis”.
In a letter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the city’s Home Minister was “superior” to the special secretaries working under him and therefore has “lawful power” to place them under suspension. “Implementing MHA’s order will seriously undermine the authority of an elected government and promote widespread indiscipline and insubordination among the DANICS officers, which may result into complete paralysis of Delhi government,” the letter said.
Sisodia said revoking the suspension will lead to “anarchy and sabotage” of functioning of a democratically elected government by the bureaucracy, and added “It may also be seen that communication from MHA is merely a letter and not an order of the President of India.” The two officers – Subhash Chandra and Yashpal Garg from Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Services (DANICS) — were suspended after they reportedly refused to sign Delhi government’s cabinet notes pertaining to a salary hike for public prosecutors and prison staff, leading to an unprecedented mass leave by over 250 senior government officials.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had on Friday last declared the decision null and void and said the two officers will be deemed on duty. Sisodia wrote that if the interpretation of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is taken as correct, it will lead to “complete paralysis” of the functioning of the Delhi government and would be prejudical to the public interest.
“In a way declaration of void ab initio by MHA appears to be without jurisdiction especially when the Constitution has entrusted the responsibility of interpretation of statues and expounding of the law to the courts and not to the Executives,” it further said. In the letter, the Delhi government cited an old MHA directive under which a government servant may be placed under suspension and quoted sections of the Transaction of Business Rules (Rule 14(2)).
“The MHA acted surprisingly fast. While issuance of deemed suspension in case of red handed arrest of SP Singh took about 15 days for MHA, it took merely one day to declare the suspension of two special secys void,” Sisodia said. “The matter was twice placed before LG, but he never said that he has any disagreement on revision of the remuneration and retairnership fee. He only raised the issue of competence of Council of Ministers to take this decision without the approval of the MHA, which is subjudice,” it said.
Reacting strongly to the bureaucrats going on mass leave on December 31, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said the government was exploring “all options” against those who participated in the strike. He had also said time has come to replace bureaucrats with professionals and sector experts to infuse fresh energy and ideas in governance.
“People will be very happy if these officers go on long leave. Government is ready to give paid leave. Governance will become honest, smooth and efficient,” Kejriwal had said. Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS) officers are selected through civil service exams conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the Union Home Ministry is their cadre-controlling authority.
Seeking to describe the circumstances that apparently led to the suspension order, the government said the Delhi High Court, in its order dated September 3, 2015, had directed it to issue orders in this regard. “…to issue appropriate orders expeditiously for implementation of revised remuneration fee and retainership fee for all public prosecutors referring cabinet note which had already been approved.
“The matter was twice placed before LG, but he never said that he has any disagreement on revision of the remuneration and retairnership fee. He only raised the issue of competence of Council of Ministers to take this decision without the approval of the MHA, which is subjudice,” it said. Later, on December 23, the government Cabinet reiterated its decision to hike the fees and sent a copy of its decision to the LG, the letter said.