Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Democracy in Delhi

Supreme Court verdict in the case of elected government versus Lieutenant Governor is a triumph of democracy in Delhi. It is a victory for AAP. It is a defeat for BJP in general, Narendra Modi in particular. Lieutenant Governors had stalled the work of Delhi government. First it was Najeeb Jung. Then it was Anil Baijal.

The judgment was given by a five-judge Constitution bench comprising CJI Dipak Misra, Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan. It said aid and advice under Article 239AA means that LG is bound by the aid and advice of council of ministers of elected Delhi government. LG cannot act as an obstructionist to policy decisions taken by AAP government.

The constitution mandates the council of minister headed by Delhi chief minister to communicate all decisions to LG but they do not require LG’s concurrence. LG can only refer it to President if he has difference of opinion but he cannot sit on it, it said.

LG being the administrative head of Delhi must be informed of all executive power but he cannot stall all the decision of council of ministers who have been elected to address aims and aspirations of electorate. Both LG and the CM are constitutional functionaries who must work harmoniously with mutual respect and none of them should feel superior to the other. Delhi’s council of ministers headed by CM must communicate all decisions taken by it to the LG, but it does not mean LG’s concurrence is required on every issue.

Delhi enjoys a unique position under Constitution and neither LG nor the CM heading the council of ministers should consider themselves bigger than the other. They must work harmoniously. LG should not act in a mechanical manner to refer all decisions of the council of ministers to the President citing difference of opinion. Except for the three issues including land and law and order over which Centre had exclusive power, Delhi government must be allowed to legislate and govern other issues and LG cannot stall decisions mechanically. LG has no independent decision-making power and cannot behave as an obstructionist when the constitution gives primacy to representative of government.

Arvind Kejriwal tweeted “A big victory for the people of Delhi…a big victory for democracy…”

Soli Sorabjee welcomed the decision.

This verdict is second major victory for AAP. First was when Delhi High Court struck down Election Commission’s decision to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs because they were once parliamentary secretaries.

BJP is clutching at straws and selectively quoted from verdict regarding anarchy and Delhi not being a state.

It seems Congress is with BJP against AAP. For some time there was talk of AAP and Congress alliance against BJP in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana. That did not happen. Sheila Dikshit started to make statements against AAP. TMC, TDP, JD(S) and CPI(M) are with AAP.

This verdict has implications for Kiran Bedi who is Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry and has fights with Congress government there.

India and USA

USA dictates to India what it should or should not buy from others. India should resist USA.
India should tell USA “We are a sovereign country. It is our right to buy anything from any country we want. Don’t tell us what we should not buy from other countries. If you impose sanctions there will be consequences.”
India dealt suitably with USA in Devyani Khobragade episode. India should deal with USA as equal and not as subsidiary.
India is low priority for USA. It postponed 2+2 talks twice. This time the talks were to be in Washington on 6 July. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was to meet Secretary of State Michael Richard Pompeo and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was to meet Defence Secretary James Norman Mattis. It is said Pompeo chose to go to North Korea to follow up on Trump-Kim summit. India should be in no hurry for 2+2 talks. India should postpone 2+2 talks twice to get even.
Iran is not India’s enemy. USA’s Permanent Representative to UN Nikki Haley said Iran funds terrorism and spreads conflict throughout the Middle East. USA is worse than Iran. It abets, funds, supports and trains terrorists and calls them freedom fighters. It did that in Afghanistan. It does that in Syria.
On 27 June Nikki Haley told Narenda Modi to stop buying oil from Iran. She comes below President, Vice President and Secretary of State of USA. Her conveying the message to India’s Prime Minister shows USA has low opinion of India and its PM.
India should not stop buying oil from Iran. Iran is ready to accept rupee payment. India should tell other oil and gas exporters that payment will be in rupees. India gave up Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline to please USA. India should not commit such mistake again.
India may buy missiles from Russia. India should be self-sufficient in defence production. It should not stop buying from Russia and buy from USA. USA wants India to buy from its military industrialists. For other imports India should pay in rupees. Putin-Trump summit is set to take place in Helsinki on 16 July.
India should deal with its problems with Pakistan alone. USA is not a reliable ally. Trump puts America First. India should put India First.
A strong rupee is in national interest. India should see that rupee appreciates against dollar and other currencies. Exporters should be told to quote their prices in rupees.

Nirav Modi is free

Nirav Modi is now known for defrauding Punjab National Bank. Estimates vary from Rs.14,000 crores to Rs.22,000 crores. It is said he has defrauded other banks Rs.3,000 crores. Left India in the beginning of January 2018.
Lalit Modi was an absconder and fugitive. He was charged with financial impropriety by Enforcement Directorate. His passport was impounded or revoked. He was in UK. Sushma Swaraj secretly facilitated Lalit Modi getting travel documents ostensibly to go to Portugal for cancer treatment of his wife. Her daughter Bansuri was in Lalit Modi’s legal team. On 31/7/2014 Keith Vaz, MP, sent an e-mail to Director General UK visas and immigration Sarah Rapson, an official in UK Home Office, about Lalit Modi. “Foreign Minister of India has spoken to me making it very clear that the Indian Government has no objection to the travel document being granted which is contrary to what the refusal notice has stated. Mrs. Swaraj has also spoken to James Bevan, who even though he is on leave, said he will speak to the relevant person in the Home Office. Frankly everyone has been involved in this apart from Ban Ki-moon.” Later Lalit Modi was seen partying with Naomi Campbell, Paris Hilton and others. When the matter became public in June 2015 Sushma Swaraj defended her action saying she did it on humanitarian grounds. BJP and RSS defended her. RSS said she was full of nationalism and patriotism. Congress attacked Sushma Swaraj. P. Chidambaram accused her of nepotism, abuse of authority and violation of rules.
Nirav Modi is free to move from one country to another. His passport is revoked. Yet he has no problem. Government officials come with excuses. All countries did not get message. Some countries do not care about India’s requests. Nirav Modi has six passports. Names are different in passports.
Has Sushma Swaraj sent a secret message to USA, UK, Belgium and other countries that relationship with India will not suffer if they allow Nirav Modi to come and go? India has poor track record of getting back bank robbers. Officially CBI and ED want Nirav Modi. Is something unofficially going on? I hope truth will be revealed as in Lalit Modi case.

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