After Rajya Sabha passed the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) (Amendment) Bill, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said that it was a “sad day” for democracy and stressed that his struggle to restore power back to the people would continue.
Taking to Twitter, Arvind Kejriwal wrote: “RS passes GNCTD amendment bill. Sad day for Indian democracy. Will continue our struggle to restore power back to people. Whatever be the obstacles, we will continue doing good work. Work will neither stop nor slow down.”
The Parliament passed the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that gives more powers to the Lieutenant Governor. It was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia called it a “dark day” for democracy.
“Today is a dark day for democracy. The rights of the government elected by the people of Delhi have been taken away and handed over to LG. Look at the irony, the Parliament was used to assassinate democracy which is called the temple of our democracy. People of Delhi will fight against this dictatorship #BJPFearsKejriwal,” Sisodia tweeted in Hindi.
The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday approved the bill giving primacy to Delhi”s Lieutenant Governor (L-G) over the elected government after high drama in the House that saw uproar by the opposition and a walkout by MPs of parties like the BJD, SP, Congress, and the YSR-Congress.
The legislation was passed in Rajya Sabha by a voice vote on Wednesday. However, a division was sought by the opposition when the government moved the bill for consideration. During voting, 83 members were in favour while 45 opposed the bill. Just before the passage of the bill, the Congress too walked out.
Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy replied to the debate on the bill, saying that the bill aims at promoting harmonious relations between the legislature and the executive in the national capital and seeks to remove ambiguities.
“The Bill is neither aimed at taking away the powers of the elected government of Delhi nor give additional powers to the Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital,” he said.
Opposition members had earlier resorted to sloganeering and forced two brief adjournments of the House.
Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh said the bill has been brought as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has twice lost elections in Delhi which AAP won. “I seek justice for the 2 crore people of Delhi, for 130 crore Indians, to seek justice from all members to save Constitution. I am telling all members – we’ll be here only if Constitution is there,” he said.
The bill seeks to amend the National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991, The statement of objects and reasons of the bill says it seeks to clarify the expression “Government”, which in the context of legislation to be passed by the Legislative Assembly of Delhi, shall mean the Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, consistent with the status of Delhi as a Union territory “to address the ambiguities in the interpretation of the legislative provisions”.
It says that the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 was enacted to supplement the provisions of the Constitution relating to the Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers for the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
Section 44 of the Act deals with the conduct of business and “there is no structural mechanism provided in the Act for effective time-bound implementation of the section”. “Further, there is no clarity as to what proposal or matters are required to be submitted to Lieutenant Governor,” it says.