Delhi Cabinet calls Shunglu Committee “unconstitutional”

New Delhi [India]: The Delhi Cabinet in its meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today advised Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung to dissolve the three-member Shunglu Committee set-up to review over 400 files of the elected government.

The Cabinet noted there is no provision in the Constitution, which empowers the setting up of an external committee to enquire into the ongoing projects of public welfare, question officers and threaten to recommend criminal and administrative action against them.

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.

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, said the Cabinet.

The Cabinet also noted that the Lieutenant Governor is doing a wrongful interpretation of the High Court judgment on August 4.

Such misinterpretation of judicial rulings by constitutional functionaries is nothing but a travesty of justice, said Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

Notices have already been issued by the apex court and the matter is to be finally heard on November 15. It would have been prudent for the Lieutenant Governor to await the final decision of the apex court before taking such unilateral actions bypassing the elected government, Sisodia added.

He also pointed out the dangerous precedent being set by the office of the Lieutenant Governor by unsettling the decisions taken by the government long after they had been implemented.

The recourse to such enquiry committee is also in opposition to extant rules and constitutional conventions.

The Cabinet has advised Jung that wherever he has a difference of opinion with any minister, the council recognises his prerogative to call the minister for discussion with an endeavour to resolve such difference under Rule 49 of the Transaction of Business Rules (TBR).

The government should be allowed to function pursuant to public mandate and in consonance with the Constitution and any attempt towards miscarriage of governance should be warded off by all concerned, including Jung, he added. (ANI)