Protests in Rajya Sabha over Centre’s controversial Delhi Bill

AAP and Congress call Bill, which weakens the Delhi government and gives more powers to the L-G, undemocratic and against the Constitution

Rajya Sabha
The Bill has already cleared the Lok Sabha and is now in the Rajya Sabha (above). Photo: Screengrab

Rajya Sabha witnessed chaotic scenes on Wednesday as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress protested against the Union government’s controversial National Capital Territory of Delhi Amendment Bill, 2021, which aims to give more powers to the state’s Lieutenant Governor (L-G).

The AAP’s Sanjay Singh called the Bill ”wrong and undemocratic”. “This is saying the Lieutenant Governor means government… Today, two crore people of Delhi have stood up for justice,” he said.

“You have lost the election twice, so you have brought the bill,” Singh said, referring to the BJP’s consecutive losses in assembly elections and the continued clashes with the Delhi government over the past six years.

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“I want to say to the people of the ruling party – the elected government of Delhi is made up of 69 constitutional amendments.”

Also read: Delhi Bill shows democracy is for the BJP, of the BJP, by the BJP

Mallikarjun Kharge, the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, demanded that the Bill be sent to a select committee for consideration.

“It is a matter of taking away the authority of the elected government here and giving it to the L-G. It is against the Constitution. It should not become a law,” he said.

The Lok Sabha on Monday (March 22) passed the Bill, which will considerably weaken the elected government in Delhi and give the L-G, who represents the Centre, more powers in the decision-making process.

As per the Bill, the Delhi government must obtain the opinion of the L-G before implementing any policy decision.

The Bill contrasts a 2018 decision of the Supreme Court Constitution Bench, which held that the L-G’s concurrence is not required on issues other than police, public order and land.

“The status of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi is not that of a Governor of a State, rather he remains an administrator, in a limited sense, working with the designation of Lieutenant Governor,” the five-judge bench had said.

The Centre, however, says the Bill is necessary as it would clearly define the responsibilities of the elected government and the L-G in keeping with the Constitution.

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