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Constitutional expert says current standoff push Delhi towards presidential rule

Posted: Jun 17, 2018     By Praveen Dwivedi

There have been a lot of talks about whether Delhi is facing constitutional crisis and heading towards presidential rule. When City Spidey put this question before S K Sharma, a retired senior official who is also a constitutional and parliamentary expert, he said that the unending standoff between ruling party (AAP) and the bureaucracy in the city is pushing the national capital towards presidential rule.

Sharma said, “The conflict which should have remained within the walls of constitutional institutions has reached on the road. The ruling party claims they are elected representatives but bureaucrats too operate the system under the protection of Indian constitution.”

The constitutional expert said that it all began after alleged assault of Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s official residence in intervening night of March 19-20. “After that incident, bureaucrats serving under the Delhi government demanded their protection. Our constitution ensures the security of bureaucrats under articles 309, 310 and 311 and hence their demand was valid,” he said.

Sharma stated that blaming bureaucrats will only be one side of the story. He stressed that even if they protested against alleged assault of their senior colleague but they didn’t stop performing their duties towards the citizens of the city.

When City Spidey asked about how long the people in the city will keep watching the administration fail in all fronts and what if people also come on road against this drama, Sharma replied, “People were not affected in last three months because administration was functioning smoothly despite the conflict. People get agitated when their lives get affected and they are not directly affected till the services of water, electricity, transportation etc are not affected.”

Sharma added, “The President of India observed that lives of citizen in the national capital are getting affected with this crisis. He can ask Delhi LG to submit a report at any point of time. If LG says that the Delhi in under constitutional crisis and it is affecting the lives of citizen, then anything can happen.”

The ongoing sit-in protest by Kejriwal and his three Cabinet Ministers at the waiting room of Delhi L-G Anil Baijal’s residence entered seventh day on Sunday. Kejriwal along with his deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain and Gopal Rai has been camping at Raj Niwas (the official accommodation of Delhi L-G) since Monday evening.

The Chief Ministers of four states - Chandrababu Naidu (CM Andhra Pradesh), Mamata Banerjee (CM West Bengal), Pinarayi Vijayan (CM Kerala) and newly elected Chief Minister of Karnataka, H D Kumaraswami, who came to Delhi to extend their political support to Kejirwal-led AAP, have called the present situation as a constitutional crisis in Delhi government.

Sharma said, “Although the joint statement of Chief Ministers of four states does advocate constitutional crisis in Delhi but unless Delhi L-G repeat the same to president in his report, the presidential rule is not possible in the national capital.”

In another development, the IAS officers of Delhi on Sunday held an unprecedented press conference to state that they were being victimised in a political battle. The officers said that misinformation was being spread about the even though they were apolitical, neutral and answerable only to the law and the constitution.

“We are not on strike. We are attending all meetings and doing all our work. Officers are skipping only those meetings in which they felt their safety and self-respect were at risk. At present, we are lacking confidence as no one has reached out to us to boost our confidence,” said Manisha Saxena, a senior IAS officer serving under the Delhi government during the press conference.

TAGS: Arvind Kejriwal verus Anil Baijal / Kejriwal protest at LG residence / Constitutional crisis in Delhi / Delhi L-G / Presidential rule in Delhi / Delhi news