Government introduces Delhi services Bill in the Lok Sabha amid vociferous protests by Opposition members

The legislation will reverse the effect of the Supreme Court verdict in May that gave the Delhi Government power over administrative services

Updated - August 02, 2023 06:48 am IST

Published - August 01, 2023 05:49 pm IST - New Delhi

A view of the Lok Sabha during the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament, in New Delhi. File

A view of the Lok Sabha during the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament, in New Delhi. File | Photo Credit: ANI

Amid vociferous protests by the Opposition members, the Union government on Tuesday introduced a contentious Bill in the Lok Sabha to replace the Ordinance over control of Delhi services.

In the post-lunch session, the government managed to pass the Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Bill, the Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, and the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order Amendment Bill after a brief discussion.

The introduction of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which gives the Delhi Lieutenant-Governor the final say on the transfer and posting of officials of the Delhi government, evoked sharp responses.

While the Opposition termed it a “murder of democracy”, Home Minister Amit Shah hit back calling the charges “politically motivated”.

The Bill, which seek to reverse the effect of a May 11 Supreme Court verdict that gave the Delhi government control over administrative services, was introduced by Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai on behalf of Mr. Shah.

Supporting the Aam Admi Party (AAP), Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the Bill was an “outrageous infringement” of the powers of the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government. Trinamool member Saugata Roy added that the Bill was brought only to overturn the Supreme Court order.

Also read | The legality of the Delhi Ordinance

Through a May 19 Ordinance, the Centre had created an authority for the transfer and posting of Group-A officers in Delhi.

Revolutionary Socialist Party member N.K. Premachandran, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen member Asaduddin Owaisi and Congress member Shashi Tharoor questioned the legislative competence of the government.

“It is against the principles of federalism envisaged in the Constitution of India. The elected government in Delhi not having control over the bureaucrats will mean not having a government in Delhi itself,” Mr. Premachandran said.

As the opposition leaders stormed into the well of the House, Mr. Shah hit back. “Our Constitution allows Parliament to make laws for Delhi. Any opposition to this Bill has no constitutional basis and is politically motivated. There is no reason for the Opposition to cite parliamentary procedure,” he said, adding that Article 239AA of the Constitution empowered Parliament to make laws for the capital.

The lone Lok Sabha member from the AAP, Sushil Kumar Rinku, and Congress member T.N. Prathapan were seen throwing papers in front of the Chair.

“I was not given a chance to speak...This is murder of democracy...You are insulting Bhimrao Ambedkar,” Mr. Rinku said, amid sloganeering by the Opposition MPs.

While Speaker Om Birla assured that everyone would be given time, he reprimanded the members for their behaviour and said that he would be forced to name them. “This kind of behaviour is not good. The country is watching,” Mr. Birla said.

Though numbers in the Lok Sabha are not a problem, the government got a major boost as the Biju Janata Dal, after the YSR Congress party, declared their support for the Bill.

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