After portfolio changed online, Haryana home minister hits out: Govts run on rule of law, not websites

Varinder Bhatia
Anil Vij, haryana home minister, haryana intelligence wing, manohar lal khattar, indian express,

This is the second time in the past week that Vij has said Khattar can keep the Intelligence wing with himself.

Haryana's home minister Anil Vij Wednesday reacted sharply to media reports that the Criminal Investigation Department (Intelligence Wing) — part of his responsibilities — figures among Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar's portfolios on the two websites: the Chief Minister's official website and the website of Haryana Vidhan Sabha.

In a statement, Vij said, “Sarkaarein websiton se nahi, rule of law se chalti hain” (Governments function according to the rule of law, not with websites)."

Mincing no words, Vij said, "If the Chief Minister wants to take back the Intelligence wing [from me], he can do that, but it cannot be done without holding a cabinet meeting. That's why the Intelligence wing is still with me."
Vij added, “I would like to make it clear that the Chief Minister is supreme, if he wants to, he can take back Intelligence wing from me. But, as per the law, without getting it approved in the cabinet meeting and without getting it passed in the Vidhan Sabha, it can't be done. No meeting in this regard had been held as yet."

This is the second time in the past week that Vij has said Khattar can keep the Intelligence wing with himself. Traditionally, the Home portfolio, which covers CID (Intelligence wing) too, has always been with the state's chief minister. However, this time, Vij was given the portfolio after BJP entered into an alliance with JJP and Dushyant Chautala was appointed the state's Deputy Chief Minister.

In his statement released this afternoon, Vij also took a dig at the state's bureaucrats. Vij said, “I do not have any dispute with the bureaucracy, but it is my duty to set such officers right who do not perform their duties. It is my duty and I shall continue to do so till my last breath."

Ever since Anil Vij took over as the state's home minister after BJP came to power in Haryana for the second consecutive term, he has taken on the Intelligence wing.

The Indian Express earlier reported that days after Vij cracked the whip against the state police's Criminal Investigation Department, Khattar's official website and the website of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha showed "Criminal Investigation Department" among the 17 portfolios held by the Chief Minister. It is not clear when the change was made on the two websites, but both showed they were last updated Tuesday (January 7).

Although there were no official orders issued in this regard till late evening Tuesday, the development resulted in immense confusion in the bureaucratic and ministerial circles.

The development raised eyebrows as the "Business of the Haryana Government (Allocation) Rules" clearly mention CID as part of the Home Department. These rules govern the manner of functioning of the state government and departments/portfolios allocated to each minister.

"The Rule 5 on Page No. 30 of the Business of Haryana Government Allocation Rules clearly mentions Criminal Investigation Department as part of the Home portfolio. The position cannot be changed unless it is passed in the Cabinet and an amended notification is issued," Vij had told The Indian Express on Tuesday.