Central Information Commission has ordered Ministry of Home Affairs to disclose all file notings related to the controversial notification of the Centre issued on 21 May, 2015 defining the role of Lt Governor in Delhi government.
The information was denied by the Home Ministry saying Delhi government had challenged it in the High Court and disclosure of the records might adversely affect its case.
“The respondent (Home Ministry) submitted that as soon as the said notification dated May 21, 2015 was issued, the Government of NCT of Delhi had filed a writ petition no. 5888/2015 before the Delhi High Court which is sub judice…
“The respondent further submitted that information could not be disclosed since the matter is pending and any disclosure in that regard can adversely affect the case,” Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava has been quoted by PTI.
The news agency also reported that while rejecting the contention of the Centre on the plea of activist Subhash Agrawal, the Commission said the information was not provided to the complainant on the ground that the matter is sub judice.
“However, the same is no ground to claim exemption under Section 8 of the RTI Act. Further, on specifically asking the respondent, he failed to justify the denial of information.
“Thus, the Commission accedes to the request of the complainant and converts this complaint to second appeal and directs the respondent to provide point-wise information, free of cost to the complainant within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this decision,” he said.
In a gazette notification on May 21, 2015, the Ministry had said that the LG will have jurisdiction over matters connected with services, public order, police and land and he may consult with the Chief Minister whenever he thinks necessary in issues of services using his own “discretion”.
It is well established that where there is no legislative power, there is no executive power since executive power is co-extensive within legislative power, it said.
“Public order, police, land and services fall outside purview of legislative assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi and consequently the Government of NCT of Delhi will have no executive power” on such matters, it said.
Arvind Keriwal led Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi had called for a two-day emergency session of the Delhi assembly from Tuesday to discuss the Home Ministry’s notification giving absolute powers to the Lieutenant Governor to appoint bureaucrats and clarifying that he need not “consult” the chief minister on subjects like police and public order.
Reacting to MHA notification, senior lawmaker Gopal Subramanium had said that such an exercise may be assailed in a court of law as a fraud on the Constitution.
He had “expressed hope that the PM, President and Council of Ministers will bear upon the subject a certain degree of detachment and dispassion because the Constitution is the most solemn and sacred of documents to any Indian.”
“What cannot be done under the Article 239AA of the Constitution, cannot be undertaken with reference to another provision of the Constitution”, Subramanium had said.