New Delhi: The contentious National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023, better known as the Delhi Services Bill, was passed by the Rajya Sabha by a division vote (131 in favour and 102 against), amid accusations of “forged signatures”, here today. While four members abstained from voting on the Bill, three opposition parties which are not part of the newly formed Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A.), the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), supported the Bill. The Lok Sabha had earlier already passed the Bill on August 3, 2023.
There was much more to the passage of the Bill after 8 hours of debate, when five members including the Bharatiya Janata Party MPs S Phangnon Konyak, Narhari Amin and Sudhanshu Trivedi, BJD MP Dr Sasmit Patra and All India Dravida Munnetra Kazagham MP M Thambidurai, objected to their names being used without their consent in the resolution moved by the Aam Aadmi Party MP Raghav Chadha to send the Bill to the Select Committee. Thambidurai claimed that his signature was forged in the proposal moved by Chadha to send the Bill to the Select Committee. “I had not signed any document, so someone may have forged my signature,” he claimed and said he had submitted a letter to the Rajya Sabha Chairman, Jagdeep Dhankhar, seeking the latter’s intervention. “Clearly this is a matter of privilege”, BJD MP Dr Sasmit Patra said and hoped that the Chairman of the House would take “appropriate action”.
After the deputy chairman read out the names to be included in the proposed select committee, Union Home Minister Amit Shah demanded the matter to be referred to the Privileges Committee since five members complained that their names were included in the list without their consent. “Who all have signed on their behalf is a subject of investigation,” Shah said.
Thereafter the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh said a probe will be ordered into the complaints of 5 Rajya Sabha MPs on the inclusion of their names without their consent in the motion to send the Bill to the Select Committee.
While Rajya Sabha rejected the Opposition’s motion to send the Bill to the select committee of the House by a voice vote, Chadha said that he will reply to the Privileges Committee once they send him a notice. “Let a Privilege Committee send me a notice. I will give my answer to the Committee,” he said.
Earlier, the Bill was introduced in the Upper House by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who reiterated his claim that the Bill “in no way violates Supreme Court judgment”, but was to ensure a “corruption-free governance”. The new Act will replace the Ordinance on control of services in the national capital.
However, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal later held a press conference where he slammed the BJP government at the Centre, claiming “They don’t respect the Supreme Court. They have the arrogance to believe they can reverse an SC order. They know they can’t defeat AAP in Delhi, so they have opted for a backdoor approach.” He said that with the law passed today, “every policy for Delhi government officials shall be determined by the Central government. Now, the PM will dictate the transfer policy of peons in Delhi”.
AAP’s Chadha said, “Though we could not stop this Bill legislatively, we will fight against it in the judiciary.”
It may be mentioned that the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023 stipulates the National Capital Civil Services Authority to be comprised of the Chief Minister, the Chief Secretary, and the Principal Home Secretary of Delhi, while Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor will have the authority to make appointments to Boards and Commissions formed by the Delhi government based on a list of names recommended by the National Capital Civil Service Authority (NCCSA). This list will also include the Delhi Chief Minister’s recommendations.
– global bihari bureau