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regular-article-logo Thursday, 30 May 2024

Democracy suffering, Constitution stands compromised: Kejriwal's letter to Tamil Nadu CM Stalin

The governors and Lt Governors are 'wilfully' undermining democratically elected state governments and obstructing administration as per their 'whims and fancies', the Delhi chief minister charged

PTI New Delhi Published 15.04.23, 07:29 PM
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A day before his appearance before the CBI, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday wrote to his Tamil Nadu counterpart M K Stalin, saying democracy in India is being dealt blows every single day and the country's federal structure is in grave danger.

In his reply to a letter from Tamil Nadu chief minister, Kejriwal also noted that "every tenet" of the India's Constitution stands compromised, be it liberty, equality, secularism, or fraternity.

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He said the interface of the state governments and their Governors or Lt Governors has effectively become "a battlefront where a silent war is being waged by the Union government." The governors and Lt Governors are "wilfully" undermining democratically elected state governments and obstructing administration as per their "whims and fancies", the Delhi chief minister charged.

Kejriwal also commended Tamil Nadu Assembly for passing a resolution seeking a time-frame for governors to approve bills passed by the state legislatures, and said his government will also bring a similar resolution in Delhi Assembly in the next session.

The Tamil Nadu chief minister had recently written to his counterparts in non-BJP ruled states, urging them to pass a resolution in their respective assemblies, seeking the Centre to fix a time limit for the governors to approve bills passed by the state legislatures. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has summoned the AAP leader in connection with the excise policy case on Sunday. He has been asked to be present at the agency headquarters at 11 am to answer queries of the investigating team, officials said.

The central probe agency has already arrested former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in connection with the case.

It is alleged that the Delhi government's excise policy for 2021-22 to grant licences to liquor traders favoured certain dealers who had allegedly paid bribes for it, a charge strongly refuted by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The policy was later scrapped.

"It is a foregone conclusion that democracy in India is suffering from blows every single day," Kerjriwal noted in his letter. "Every tenet of our glorious constitution stands compromised - be it liberty, equality, secularism, or fraternity. It is also beyond doubt that our federal structure, which enfranchised people in the most remote corners, is in grave danger from forces that seek to illegitimately centralise all power," he added.

He said the country's federal polity and clearly laid out roles and responsibilities of the Union and state governments in the Constitution have resulted in a united nation and a cohesive society "despite all apprehensions of fragmentation that arose when we achieved independence from colonial rule." "However, it is disheartening to note that these principles are being regularly discarded nowadays," he said. The fact that the Governors/Lt. Governors of non-BJP ruled governments are indefinitely holding bills passed by Legislative Assemblies or files sent by the Government of NCT of Delhi (GNCTD) is not only a violation of our constitutional scheme, but also a disrespect for the people's mandate which is supreme in any democracy, he charged.

"I commend the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly for taking a firm stand against these centralising tendencies by passing the resolution, urging the Union government and the President of India to fix a time limit for the governors to approve the bills passed by respective Legislature," he said. "In this spirit, I will table a similar resolution in the Delhi Vidhan Sabha in the upcoming session, urging the Centre to fix time limits for governors and Lt Governors to carry out their constitutional functions. We should collectively resist any action to decimate or obliterate State/NCT Governments," he added.

Kejriwal alleged that in the national capital, Lt. Governor has "regularly meddled" with the democratic mandate of Delhi's Legislature, blocked the presentation of Delhi's Budget and gone further to even bring day-to-day executive functioning of the GNCTD to a standstill under the guise of the unconstitutional 2021 amendment to the GNCTD Act. The actions of the Lt Governor are hindering the functioning in every area where our government seeks to make giant strides -- be it healthcare, education, water, power, industries, finance or infrastructure, he charged.

"The interface of the state governments and their Governors/Lt. Governors has effectively become a battlefront where a silent war is being waged by the Union Government," he alleged.

"Governors/Lt. Governors are wilfully undermining democratically elected state governments, and obstructing administration as per their whims and fancies," he charged.

They have become the face of the "deepening chasm" between the Union and the states run by non-BJP governments, he alleged, adding that "the cherished ideal of cooperative federalism has been rendered a lip-service, despite the state governments honouring the principle to its core." This, unfortunately, has resulted in the people raising questions about the very role of the solemn office of the Governor/Lt. Governor, he claimed. "No constitutional functionary should think that they are law unto themselves. It is high time that we unequivocally highlight that India is governed by the rule of law, and not by the writ of the Central government and its representatives," he said.

"We condemn the actions of Centre and its representatives to usurp and constrain powers of the non-BJP state Govts. I support M K Stalin's efforts. We will also table a resolution in Delhi Vidhan Sabha urging the Centre to fix time limits for Governors/LG to carry out their functions," Kejriwal tweeted along with a copy of his reply to Tamil Nadu chief minister's letter.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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