Maharashtra: No ministerial powers given to secretaries, clarifies CMO

Sanjay JogUpdated: Saturday, August 06, 2022, 10:09 PM IST
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Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde | Photo: PTI

The Shinde-Fadnavis government faced a major embarrassment as due to delays in the cabinet expansion it was forced to delegate powers to the department secretaries to hold hearings on urgent matters pertaining to revenue, rural development, cooperation and general administration departments to avoid further inconvenience to the people. The administration in Mantralaya has come to a halt due to lack of cabinet expansion and delegation of portfolios especially when the state was going through a major crisis after heavy rains and floods in various districts.

CM’s decision to delegate powers to secretaries sparked controversy as the opposition led a scathing attack for turning Mantralaya to Sachivalaya (Secretariat).

Amid strong criticism, the Chief Minister’s Office on Saturday clarified that the powers of admitting quasi-judicial cases and their hearing were delegated to the secretaries and not the ministerial level powers. ‘’All these powers are vested with the Minister, Chief Minister and Council of Ministers as before. Therefore, it is completely wrong to say that all the decision-making powers have been given to the secretaries.’’

‘’As per the August 4 directives, some ministerial powers have been delegated to the secretaries. They are restricted to filing quasi-judicial cases and hearings. This was done on a temporary basis in the wake of an ongoing case in the Bombay high court,’’ said CMO in a statement.

However, the state Congress party chief spokesman Atul Londhe claimed that in the absence of a full-fledged cabinet, the Shinde-Fadnavis government's decision to run the affairs of the state through bureaucrats was wrong. He claimed that the governance should be handled by people's representatives and by the secretaries.

Londhe said that the reason why the former Chief Minister Shankarao Chavan renamed Sachivalaya to Mantralaya was to ensure that governance should be people-oriented and the people should feel like it's their government.

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