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Indian Polity

Foreign Visit of the State Government Ministers

  • 05 Aug 2022
  • 3 min read

For Prelims: World Cities Summit, Cabinet Secretariat, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Central Administrative Ministry, Prime Minister’s Office

For Mains: Centre-State Relations and Significance of Governor’s Role in state

Why in News?

Recently, Delhi’s Chief Minister was denied permission to attend the World Cities Summit in Singapore.

  • Also, the state transport minister of Delhi filed a plea in Delhi high court to set aside the need for travel clearances by the Centre for private foreign visits of State government Ministers.

What's the Issue?

  • The Chief Minister of Delhi was invited by the Singapore government to participate in the world cities conference but his clearance to visit was denied by the central government.
    • Further, the central government said the trip to Singapore was "not advisable," noting that it was mostly attended by mayors and that, in any case, urban governance in Delhi was not solely the responsibility of the state government.
  • Also, in 2019 the Delhi Chief Minister’s proposed visit to Copenhagen for attending the 7th C-40 World Mayors Summit was rejected by the MEA without providing any reason.

Under which Provisions are approvals Required?

  • In 1982 the cabinet secretariat issued guidelines regarding foreign travel of Ministers of State government and Union Territories and State government officials.
    • Foreign visits by members of the State governments in their official capacity would require clearances from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Ministry of Home Affairs, Finance Ministry, and the Central Administrative Ministry.
  • Further, another order circulated in 2004, modifying the provisions to the extent that the final orders were to be issued by the Finance Ministry.
    • It stated that Chief Ministers required further approval from the Prime Minister’s Office before an official visit.
  • Again in 2010, another directive was issued that made political clearances mandatory before private visits of Ministers in State governments.

On what Grounds has the Petition been Filed?

  • Violates Right to Privacy:
    • Requiring permission for visiting abroad by state government Ministers violates their right to privacy and dignity of their constitutional office.
  • Beyond Jurisdiction of Governor’s Office:
    • It argues that Governor advising against the proposed Singapore visit is beyond the jurisdiction of his office’s authority.
  • Violates Article 21:
    • The use of arbitrariness and unaccountable implementation of power by the Governor and Central Government is against national interest and good governance and impinges upon the right to travel abroad as guaranteed under Article 21.

Source: TH

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