Move to disengage specialists ‘arbitrary, vindictive’: Delhi Speaker writes to L-G


By Pankaj Jain: Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel on Friday wrote to Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena on the notices issued by the services and finance departments to stop the engagement of fellows and advisors at the Delhi Assembly Research Centre (DARC). Goel said the L-G’s move was against the principles of natural justice and “smacks of arbitrariness and unexplained vindictiveness”.

On Thursday, the Legislative Assembly Secretariat issued an order to discontinue the engagement of 116 fellows under the DARC only to stay it hours later, following the intervention of Speaker Ram Niwas Goel.

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In the letter to L-G Saxena, Speaker Ram Niwas Goel said any action taken against the fellows can be treated as a breach of privilege and contempt of the Assembly.

On July 5, the Delhi government’s services department, on the direction of the LG, wrote to all departments, boards and commissions to stop the engagement of fellows and advisers without the lieutenant governor’s approval. The notification said the Delhi Legislative Assembly is “not competent to appoint and engage such manpower without the approval of the Delhi L-G” and in view of that, such engagements have to stop.

A day later, the finance department asked all departments and agencies of the Delhi government not to release the salaries of such persons.

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In his letter to the L-G, Goel said the communications by the Services Department and the Finance Department “appear to have been issued in a hurried manner without examining the matter in detail or seeking legal opinion or the views of the affected stakeholders”.

The objection raised by the services department is that engagement of fellows and advisors being a services matter, the approval of the competent authority — the lieutenant governor — should have been taken. The department also alleged that the constitutional provisions of reservation were violated by engaging the fellows without the L-G’s approval.

“Neither of these objections apply to the Fellowship Programme of the DARC,” said Goel.

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He contended that the Fellowship Programme of the DARC is not an appointment or employment per se and does not fall under the purview of the services department. “The fellows can not be considered as employees. In fact, in the offer letter to the candidates it is clearly mentioned that the candidature to the fellowship programme shall on no account be treated as a claim to employment/appointment in the Delhi Assembly or any government service”, Goel said.

“I find no reason to discontinue the Fellowship Programme of the DARC,” he said, adding that he has also directed the Secretary (Legislative Assembly) to not take any action in this matter without his approval.

Earlier on July 3, L-G V K Saxena terminated the services of around 400 “specialists” appointed by the Arvind Kejriwal government. Those who lost their jobs were allegedly engaged in a non-transparent manner and without the mandatory approval from authorities.

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