Ordinance in line with SC verdict, Delhi UT not ‘Arvind Territory’: BJP

New Delhi: The BJP on Saturday defended the ordinance on the transfer and posting of government officers in Delhi as a step in consonance with the Constitution and in line with the Supreme Court’s observations in the matter, asserting that this is also in the interest of the common man.

BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia launched a sharp attack on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal following his denouncement of the Centre for bringing the ordinance, which seeks to negate the apex court order giving the authority over officers to the elected government, saying his ideology is against the Constitution and is anarchic.

Citing the verdict of the Constitution bench, Bhatia said it had said that if “Parliament enacts a law granting executive power on any subject”, then the power of the Lieutenant Governor can be modified accordingly.

The ordinance, which has to be ratified by Parliament within six months, is in public interest, he claimed, accusing the Kejriwal government of harassing and intimidating officer to suppress facts related to the “liquor scam” and the alleged irregularities in expenditure on the chief minister’s residence.

“You read neither the Constitution nor the Supreme Court judgement. You think whatever the tyrant Arvind Kejriwal says is above the country’s Constitution,” Bhatia said at a press conference.

Noting that Delhi is a Union Territory, he referred to Article 239AA to assert Parliament’s power over the region. Delhi is not “Arvind Territory” and it will be run by the Constitution not his whims, the BJP leader, also a lawyer, said.

Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said the ordinance was brought to ensure “transparency and accountability”.

“We had to bring in the ordinance because within a few days of the Supreme Court judgement, the Delhi government began flexing its muscles. It transferred 2010 batch IAS officer Y K Rajashekhar, who was probing the irregularities in the Sheesh Mahal,” he said at a press conference in Patna.
The allusion was to the alleged huge expenditure for the renovation of the official residence of the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Prasad noted that the Supreme Court had cited absence of any particular law with regard to the administration in Delhi, under Schedule 2 of Constitution.

Making light of the AAP leader’s claim that the Centre deliberately brought the ordinance at a time when the Supreme Court is on a summer break so that a legal challenge to it could not be pursued quickly, Bhatia said the vacation bench is there.

He dared the Delhi government to move against the ordinance as quickly as Monday to test its legal and constitutional validity.

Earlier, Kejriwal said, “The Centre’s ordinance on services matter is unconstitutional and against democracy. We will approach the Supreme Court against it. The Centre brought the ordinance to overturn the Supreme Court verdict on services matter just hours after the apex court has shut for vacation.”

It is a direct contempt of the apex court, he charged.