New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) Delhi’s Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung and the AAP government were locked in another spat on Wednesday, with Jung rejecting the city government’s appointment of Swati Maliwal as the new chief of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW).
In an unrelated development, the Aam Aadmi Party mounted a fresh attack on Delhi Police, saying a police bus tried to run over its leader Dilip Pandey.
Jung, after a meeting with AAP leaders on Wednesday evening, promised to take up the issue with Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi.
Jung’s office said the appointment of Maliwal, a social activist and the wife of an AAP leader, was “in breach of rules and procedures” and “had no legal sanctity”. The Delhi government said it acted well within its powers.
Maliwal, who took charge on Monday, said she has not received any formal communication from Jung’s office. “There could be a few technical glitches but I have not received any formal communication yet.”
She insisted that she should not be seen merely as the wife of AAP leader Naveen Jaihind, a loyal supporter of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
“I have been working at the grassroots level for women and will keep doing that even if I don’t hold this position.”
Maliwal said her aim was to see a Delhi where women felt safe even at midnight.
Delhi’s Labour Minister Gopal Rai said Maliwal’s appointment “was within the (parameters of the) constitution”.
Jung’s office disagreed. It said the notification about her appointment was issued without his approval.
“All statutory notifications for the reconstitution of the DCW in the past had the approval of the Lt. Governor of Delhi.
“As the notification in question has been issued without (such) approval, the competent authority, in breach of rules and procedures, the notification has no legal sanctity and any action taken by the chairperson or any member of the (DCW), including quasi-judicial decisions, would be ultra vires and infructuous.”
Maliwal succeeded Barkha Singh, a Congress functionary who had repeated run-ins with the Kejriwal government as well as two AAP leaders – Kumar Vishwas and Somnath Bharti.
Jung and the AAP government have been involved in public spats even earlier, primarily over the Delhi government’s powers to appoint and shift officials.
After the incident involving Dilip Pandey late on Tuesday, the AAP accused Delhi Police — which reports to the Lt. Governor and the central home ministry and not to the Delhi government — of acting at the behest of the Narendra Modi government.
“Delhi Police is working as the Modi government’s tool in the national capital,” AAP leader Sanjay Singh said. “It is dancing to the tunes of the central government.”
An AAP delegation led by Sanjay Singh called on Jung on Wednesday evening and handed him a CD and “other evidence” to back charges that a police bus indeed tried to crush Pandey.
“The Lt. Governor promised to talk to the police commissioner to ensure action is taken against the culprit,” Sanjay Singh said.
Pandey and the AAP alleged that the incident happened while he was speaking with journalists outside the Rajendra Nagar police station on Tuesday evening — after an earlier AAP protest against the murder of a teenager last week.