Rajya Sabha passes Delhi services bill. 131 votes in favour, 102 against

On Monday, the Rajya Sabha approved the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023, supplanting the previous ordinance governing transfers and postings of senior officials in the Delhi government. The bill received 131 votes in favor and 102 against.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, addressing the debate on the contentious bill in the Rajya Sabha during the Monsoon session of Parliament in New Delhi on August 7, 2023, emphasized that the bill does not contravene the Supreme Court\’s verdict. Shah underscored that the legislation aims to facilitate effective and corruption-free governance in the national capital. He reassured members that no provision alters the existing system\’s status, which has been in place since the Congress regime.

Defending the ordinance, Shah pointed out that the Delhi government led by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) transferred vigilance department officers due to the presence of files related to a liquor scam.

He said, \”The haste shown by the Delhi government regarding the vigilance department was due to the \’excise policy scam\’ and \’sheesh-mahal\’ files.\”

Taking a swipe at the Congress for aligning with the AAP, Shah asserted that AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal would eventually exit the opposition alliance once the Delhi services bill is passed. He clarified that the bill does not aim to enforce an \”Emergency\” or curtail people\’s rights.

Shah stated, \”Earlier, there were no conflicts over transfers and postings in Delhi, and no Chief Ministers had problems. In 2015, a government emerged after a movement. Some individuals claimed that the Centre was seeking to seize power. However, the Centre doesn\’t need to do so, as the power and right have been granted to us by the people of India.\”

Earlier in the day, AAP MP Raghav Chadha labeled the bill a \”political deception\” and a \”constitutional transgression\” that would lead to administrative chaos. Chadha highlighted that the BJP had been advocating for Delhi\’s statehood for nearly four decades and had included the promise in its election manifesto. According to Chadha, the BJP\’s actions undermine the efforts of leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani, who worked to grant Delhi full state status.

Addressing Union Home Minister Amit Shah\’s reference to the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to support the bill, Chadha urged Shah to adopt the principles of Advani instead of Nehru.

Congress member Abhishek Manu Singhvi opposed the legislation, characterizing it as a \”regressive bill\” that is \”entirely unconstitutional.\” He also asserted that it constitutes a \”direct assault on the people of Delhi and violates federalism.\”

Amidst the deliberations, a dramatic incident occurred when the opposition\’s motion to refer the contentious bill to a select committee was brought up. Several members, including BJD MP Sasmit Patra and BJP MP Sudhanshu Trivedi, stated that their names had been included in the motion by AAP MP Raghav Chadha without their consent.

Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh declared that an investigation would be initiated into complaints from certain Rajya Sabha MPs regarding their names being added without their approval.

The bill had previously been passed by the Lok Sabha last week.

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