New Delhi, May 15: In an open confrontation, Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung today appointed senior bureaucrat Shakuntala Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary of the city government notwithstanding strong reservations by Kejriwal dispensation which termed the decision as "unconstitutional".
The Lt Governor gave the additional charge of Chief Secretary to Gamlin, a 1984-batch IAS officer, hours after she wrote a scathing letter to Jung claiming that she was pressurised by a senior bureaucrat in CM's office not to be in race for the post due to her alleged proximity to BSES discoms.
Chief Secretary K K Sharma has left for the US on a personal visit due to which the government had to appoint an acting Chief Secretary. Slamming the move, the AAP government said the LG cannot bypass the elected government and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and that he acted against "the Constitution, GNCT of Delhi Act and the Transaction of Business Rules."
After the Services Secretary issued an order giving Gamlin the additional charge following instructions by Jung, the city government accused the LG of by-passing the Chief Minister and the elected government and said he does not have extraordinary power. "The Lt Governor by-passed the elected Government, the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister (who also acts as the Minister in-charge of Services department).
The Lt Governor does not have the extraordinary powers under the Constitution to bypass the elected Government and issue instructions directly to the Secretaries, whatever be the provocation," the city government said in a statement. It said Jung, in an "extraordinary manner", issued instructions directly to the Secretary (Services) to give the additional charge of Chief Secretary to Gamlin.
The Government said it had certain reservations about the conduct of Gamlin because of which it was hesitant to give the additional charge to her. "She was perceived to be extremely close to electricity companies in Delhi and was lobbying for their interests within the Government. However, the Hon'ble Lieutenant Governor, in a completely unconstitutional manner appointed Shakuntala Gamlin, to this position," it said.
In her letter to Jung, Gamlin accused Kejriwal's Secretary Rajendra Kumar of making a telephone call asking her not be in race for the post. She also accused the AAP government of casting aspersions on her integrity to service and levelling false charges. Senior bureaucrats Naini Jayaseelan, IAS officer of 1980 batch, Arvind Ray and S P Singh were in race for acting Chief Secretary's post.