New Delhi: The AAP government on Wednesday claimed before Delhi High Court that ACB chief M K Meena was “not working in accordance with law” and not allowing anyone to work, as it sought that its plea challenging the Centre’s notification on appointment of bureaucrats and ACB’s powers should be heard on an urgent basis.
The Delhi government made the submission before Justice V P Vaish after Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain told the court that the Centre would require another week to file replies to the allegations made by the Arvind Kejriwal government in various applications on the matter. The AAP government opposed the Centre’s plea for time on the ground that it was a “delaying tactic”.
The court, however, gave time to the Centre to file its replies to the city government’s applications within a week and listed the matter for further hearing on August 27.
During the hearing, senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, appearing for Delhi government, alleged that Meena was “not working in accordance with law” and not allowing anyone else to work. The Delhi government also claimed that Meena has been “misusing his powers to browbeat and threaten officials of ACB and the Vigilance Department”, after AAP government-nominated ACB chief S S Yadav accused Meena of threatening and pressuring him.
On August 11, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had told the court that curtailment of powers of the Anti- Corruption Branch (ACB) from registering cases and investigating the offences committed by officers of the Centre was wholly illegal. The city government had also said it was surprising that the Union of India was seeking to prevent ACB from performing its function of fighting corruption, which had a direct impact and bearing on the lives of the citizens of the national capital. The Centre was on the contrary seeking to shield a particular class of persons, it had alleged. It had also claimed there was no bar on the ACB’s power to investigate acts of corruption committed within the national capital, irrespective of who the offender was. This view has been opposed by the Centre.
The Centre had earlier responded to Delhi government’s claim that LG Najeeb Jung did not consult the Chief Minister in the matter of assigning charge of officiating Chief Secretary in Shakuntala Gamlin saying it was”misplaced”. Delhi government has challenged the Centre’s May 21 notification which gave the LG absolute powers to appoint bureaucrats to various posts in the national capital and barred ACB from proceeding against any staff under the Centre’s control.
Along with the May 21 notification, Delhi government has also challenged the July 23, 2014 notification of the Centre which limited ACB’s jurisdiction to Delhi government officials only. The Centre had also said since Delhi government does not have its own public services or public services commission, it has no legislative or executive powers with respect to services like IAS and IPS.
The Centre had also said that AAP government has a “grudge” against the ACB chief and want him out and claimed that the ACB chief was acting in accordance with law and there has been no willful disobedience. The face-off between the LG and Kejriwal’s government has resulted in the ACB now having two chiefs. It all began on June 8, when Joint Commissioner Meena took charge of ACB after he was appointed by LG, superseding Additional Commissioner S S Yadav. Yadav had been hand-picked by Delhi government for the post.