The Lok Sabha passed the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023, replacing the ordinance on control of services in Delhi. The passage of the Bill was met with protests and a walkout by some Opposition parties.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah launched a scathing attack on the Opposition during the debate on the Bill, accusing them of being more concerned about their alliance than democracy or the welfare of the people. He expressed confidence that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would secure a complete majority in the 2024 elections despite any Opposition alliance.
Altercation in the House:
During the proceedings, the AAP’s lone Lok Sabha member, Sushil Singh Rinku, created a disturbance by going to the well of the House, tearing papers, and throwing them towards the Speaker, Om Birla. As a consequence, Rinku was suspended for the rest of the session.
Opposition’s Return to House Proceedings:
The Opposition parties, who had been protesting to demand a statement from PM Modi on Manipur, returned to participate in House proceedings for the first time during this session.
Shah’s Criticism of the Opposition:
Union Home Minister Amit Shah criticized the Opposition for its double standards and stated that they only sought the PM’s statement when important Bills were being passed. He accused the Opposition of not genuinely caring about democracy or the country’s interests.
The Delhi Ordinance Bill and the Opposition’s Stand:
Shah defended the Bill, emphasizing that Delhi is a Union Territory and not a state, and Parliament has the right to make laws related to it. He referred to a Supreme Court interpretation that necessitated bringing a law to deal with service-related matters in Delhi.
Opposition’s Allegations and Shah’s Response:
The Opposition had alleged that the Centre was interfering in Delhi’s affairs. Shah countered by stating that Article 239AA allows the Centre to intervene in Delhi’s administration. He asserted that the AAP government’s way of functioning had led to this situation.
Controversial Cabinet Notes:
Shah criticized the former Delhi government for not adhering to rules and procedures while handling Cabinet notes and claimed that this led to the necessity of framing new rules.
Supreme Court’s Ruling and the AAP Government’s Actions:
Shah cited a Supreme Court ruling that recognized Delhi’s unique status and granted elected governments control over bureaucrats. However, he mentioned that the Delhi government had taken actions to transfer officials before the matter was fully decided by the Court.
Legal Challenge to the Ordinance:
The AAP government in Delhi has challenged the constitutional validity of the ordinance in the Supreme Court, and the Court has referred the plea to a Constitution Bench.