Rajya Sabha Update: Amit Shah claims that the bill’s purpose is to ensure that the Union Territory has a pro-people, corrupt-free government. 102 MPs voted against the bill, and a motion to refer it to a select committee was rejected.
New Delhi : On August 7, four days after the Lok Sabha approved the Bill, the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi enacted the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill. The Bill is intended to “maintain democratic and administrative balance in the governance” of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, according to the Centre.
With 131 members voting in favour and 102 members voting against it, the bill was approved. Along with NDA voters, the Bill also received support from BJD and YSRCP members.
The House also voted against the opposition’s amendments and a request to refer the matter to a Rajya Sabha select committee. A probe into the allegations made by a few MPs that their names were included in the proposed select committee without their knowledge was also requested by Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh, who oversaw the voting.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah responded to the discussion of the bill by stating that it is intended to provide pro-people, free of corruption government in Delhi. He added that as Delhi is a Union Territory under the Constitution, it cannot be governed like a State. “We have not changed anything in the previous Bill brought by the Congress regime,” he said. Former Chief Ministers didn’t have any problems with the Centre. They desired growth, he remarked, noting that anarchy is being spread throughout Delhi.
“A government that was established following a protest in 2015 claims that the Centre is attempting to steal power. We don’t want to usurp authority. We have power because of people. The purpose of this Bill, according to Mr. Shah, is to prevent the State government from interfering with the powers of the Centre. He added that from 1991 to 2015, Delhi had an administration structure in place, and the Narendra Modi government had made no changes to it. “The present Delhi government tried to change this system, and this Bill is to nullify those attempts,” he said.
Mr. Shah remarked that the Centre has the authority to draw laws for all Union Territories in response to the opposition’s arguments. “Services will therefore be included in this. He noted that the Congress was opposed to the Act that was made by it to satisfy the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and that Parliament has the authority to alter and void Acts approved by the Assembly. He claimed that the Congress, not the BJP, is the AAP’s true target. It is evident from their electoral record, he continued.
Additionally, he refuted claims that the Bill disregards a Supreme Court ruling.
“This Bill is to protect the rights of the people of Delhi, and that is why the Bill was hurried,” he claimed. He claimed that in order to destroy documents pertaining to the liquor scandal, the Delhi government removed the Vigilance chief and instructed officers to report to the Minister.
Completely unconstitutional, says Opposition
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, a prominent member of the Congress, opened the debate on the bill by stating, “This Bill is clearly unlawful. Fundamentally, it opposes democracy. It is a direct attack on the regional voice and ambitions of the Delhi population. All federalist tenets, all civil service accountability standards, and all forms of democracy based on legislative assemblies are all violated. It goes against the fundamental framework,” he stated.
The bill’s provision to establish a three-member authority presided over by the Chief Minister was questioned by Congress leader P. Chidambaram. “Is there merit in the fact that a quorum of two out of the three members can even call and hold a meeting without the Chief Minister?” Is it legitimate for the Lieutenant Governor to veto decisions even when they are made unanimously? Is there merit in having a meeting with or without the Chief Minister, the member secretary who serves as the Home Department’s principal secretary, he questioned.
Ranjan Gogoi, a former Chief Justice and MP, defended the Bill. The Congress took offence to Mr. Gogoi’s comment about the fundamental design of the Constitution. Later, in a statement, Congress general secretary K.C. Venugopal urged the Centre to reject the idea that the Constitution’s fundamental framework doesn’t require protection.