Federalism facing threat

Never in the recent past was the threat to federalism as serious as it is now under the NDA regime. There is a clear and blatant discrimination against some states even in the legitimate functions assigned to them in the Constitution. By systematically usurping the rights of the states and taking unilateral and arbitrary decisions, the centre has been striking at the roots of federalism that is the bedrock of the Constitution. The latest instance has been provided by an ordinance that blatantly negates the Supreme Court’s verdict and seeks to clip the wings of the Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP government in Delhi. A late-night ordinance, issued on May 19, nullifies the apex court’s decision to give the Delhi government powers over administrative services in the national capital -essentially the power to transfer and appoint bureaucrats posted to Delhi.

The central ordinance virtually allows two bureaucrats to veto the Chief Minister. According to the ordinance, a National Capital Civil Service Authority will be set up with the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and Principal Home Secretary to be members to decide on postings and transfers. If the two bureaucrats appointed by the centre get together, they can stall the Chief Minister’s choice in a voting. The centre’s latest move raises several questions pertaining to the rights of the states. Eight days after the SC gave the AAP-led Delhi government powers to appoint and transfer bureaucrats other than those related to public order, police and land, the NDA government notified an ordinance that virtually overturns the court ruling. On every issue with federal ramifications, the Modi government has been quite insensitive while pushing its agenda instead of taking the consensus route and trying to get the states on board.