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Jung seeks reasons for Barkha axe

New Delhi, Jan. 30: Lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung has asked the Arvind Kejriwal government to explain why it wants to remove Delhi women’s commission chief Barkha Singh, sources said today.

Jung, whom Singh met this afternoon, asked the government to state in writing the grounds on which it is seeking her removal.

The sources, however, said this was a routine exercise under the Delhi Commission for Women Act and did not mean a rejection of the government’s proposal to nominate Hindi author Maitreyi Pushpa in Singh’s place.

Singh, who had demanded the resignation of law minister Somnath Bharti, accused of leading a mob in a late-night raid on some African women for alleged involvement in a drug-and-prostitution racket, remained defiant.

“I am holding a constitutional post and the Delhi government cannot remove me. I have handed over a rulebook of the DCW to the lieutenant governor so that he gets to know that the government cannot remove the chairperson from the post,” she said, adding that she would mount a legal challenge if removed.

According to the DCW Act, a chairperson has a three-year tenure. She can resign at any time but can be removed under certain conditions — such as conviction in a criminal case, unsound mind, absence from three consecutive meetings of the commission without taking leave, or abuse of position. However, her removal can be finalised only after she has been given an opportunity to defend herself.

While it is not clear which section of the act the Delhi government will site as the ground for replacing Singh, Kejriwal made it clear his main objection was that she was a political appointee.