Amid a long tussle between the two constitutional authorities in the national capital, Delhi Lieutenant Governor’s office has returned 47 files signed by CMO staff instead of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday.
The move came nearly a week after LG VK Saxena wrote to Kejriwal, pointing out that the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) was forwarding files seeking opinion and approvals to the LG Secretariat without his signatures.
The files returned by the LG Secretariat included those related to the education department and the Waqf Board among others, PTI sources at the LG office said.
They claimed that the CMO had continued to send files not signed by the chief minister despite the LG raising the issue.
“Some of the files that have been returned back to the CMO were sent without the chief minister’s signature even after LG’s letter while others were received earlier by LG office,” they said.
Saxena had flagged the issue in his letter to Delhi CM on August 22, stressing on the chief minister’s signature on files sent by CMO for seeking his approvals and opinion, in the interest of smooth and effective governance, sources said.
The LG had noted in his letter that files from CMO were being sent for his approval and opinion with notings like ‘CM has seen and approved’ and ‘CM has seen’ it’, but not having his signatures.
“In the recent months, a significant number of proposals, as a matter of routine, has been submitted by the CMO for the LG’s approval or opinion through joint secretary or additional secretary, with the remarks ‘Hon’ble CM has seen and approved the proposal’ without specifying any grounds of urgency warranting such a communication,” the LG had said.
The LG had also asked the chief minister to introduce the e-office system, implemented in most government offices, so as to enable seamless movements of files.
The latest development comes amid the tussle between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and the office of the LG over various issues.
The CBI probe recommended by Saxena into the Kejriwal government’s Excise Policy has already become a flashpoint between the AAP and BJP.
The LG in his letter had cited a provision of the Manual of Office Procedure, 2022, that provided that in rare and urgent cases when a minister is sick or travelling, his/her approval can be taken telephonically and communicated by his private secretary in writing.
However, the minister was to confirm his decision after joining back.
The LG had flagged the issue saying the “practice” of submission of files on a routine basis under the signatures of CMO officials needed to be avoided.
In absence of chief minister’s signature, it was not clear whether the proposal has been seen and approved by him or not, he had said in the letter.
The handling or receipt of files by the joint or additional secretary at CMO constrained the LG office to communicate the Lt Governor’s decision to those officials, it had also said.
LG office sources said files were duly signed by chief ministers prior to 2013.
Since assuming office, LG Saxena has alleged various discrepancies in the functioning of the government. The AAP in turn has accused Saxena of working on the directions of the BJP-led Central government to derail its development works.
With PTI inputs