Centre annuls Kejri's decision on babu

The Delhi government on Thursday bowed to the Centre in its latest confrontation on the issue of control of bureaucrats after the Home Ministry annulled its decision to repatriate Principal Secretary (Home) Dharam Pal.

The Delhi government had on Tuesday relieved Pal and put him at the disposal of the Home Ministry, while giving his assignments to IAS officers Rajender Kumar (Home) and Ashwani Kumar (Land).

The Home Ministry, however, on Wednesday termed the order illegal, forcing Chief Secretary K K Sharma on Thursday to ensure that Pal “continues to function as principal secretary (home) and principal secretary (land and building) without any disruption.”

The Home Ministry reversed the Delhi government order within 48 hours it divested Pal of his duties. The Arvind Kejriwal-led government is in a confrontation mode with the Centre and Lt Governor Najeeb Jung over control of bureaucrats in Delhi administration.

With Jung issuing an order that Pal’s removal does not have his assent, the Delhi Secretariat witnessed a peculiar situation as both officers – Pal and Kumar – functioned as principal secretary (Home).

The Ministry described the decision “ab initio void” (to be treated as invalid from the outset) as the state government has no power to repatriate an IAS officer or appointing the top officer for Home and Land departments. Citing Rule 55(2) of Transaction of Business Rules of Delhi government, the Ministry said the posting of secretary (Home) and secretary (Land) is governed by it. The Lt Governor has to make “prior reference” to the Home Ministry in respect of proposals to these two posts.

The Delhi government did not go through this process.

The letter also said the AGMUT cadre, from which Delhi gets its bureaucracy, is controlled by the Home Ministry and a Joint Cadre Authority (JCA) under the Home Secretary is set up for transfer of such officers.

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