The central government today introduced the control of services in Delhi bill in Lok Sabha. After the Supreme Court made a ruling in favour of the Aam Aadmi Party, the centre introduced an ordinance and now it is attempting to seek a review of the SC’s judgement. The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023 aims to do the same by replacing the ordinance.
In May this year, the Supreme Court gave a ruling that served as an end to the 8-year-long power struggle between the centre and the Aam Aadmi Party’s Government in Delhi. The apex court ruled in favour of the AAP, saying that the Delhi government has legislative and executive powers over administrative services in Delhi.
This ruling was given by a 5-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by DY Chandrachud, the Chief Justice of India. He said that this ruling was needed to protect the basic structure of federalism.
Later that month, going against the SC’s decision, the President of India brought forward the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023. This was done to give more power to the Lieutenant Governor of the national capital.
The ordinance made a new authority known as the National Capital Civil Service Authority (NCCSA) headed by the Chief Minister who is elected in Delhi, with the Chief Secretary and the Principal Secretary (Home Department). The authority was given the responsibility to give suggestions to the Lieutenant Governor about vigilance, transfer posting, and several other matters.
According to the provisions of the above ordinance, the central government, along with the Authority’s advice, is supposed to decide the nature and categories of officers and other posts needed to help the Authority in delegating its functions.
The government of Delhi has gone against the ordinance and has questioned its constitutionality in the Supreme Court. The SC then referred the plea to a Constitution Bench.
Opposition parties stand against the Delhi Services bill
The Bill was introduced in the house by Nityanand Rai, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, and was tabled by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, as the opposition parties stood against it. Although the Congress party had earlier denied joining hands with AAP in opposing the bill, it has now officially come forward in standing against the same.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a Congress Party leader said that the bill is a ‘graveyard’ for a functioning federalism and said that the central government is seeking to weaken the federal structure of our country.
Asaduddin Owaisi, the President of AIMIM (All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen), said that the House does not have the ‘legislative power’ to do this and if it does, it would be in violation of the Article 123 of the constitution of India.
The Aam Aadmi Party stated that the centre is trying to replace democracy with ‘babucracy’ in the capital. Raghav Chadha, (AAP MP, Rajya Sabha) has claimed this bill to be worse than the original ordinance. He added that the bill is the most undemocratic and illegal piece of paper ever brought into the parliament and said that it is meant to hand the power of the capital to the LG and the ‘babus’.
Amit Shah responded to these claims by saying that Parliament has the power through the constitution to make laws on Delhi. He added that all the comments on the Bill by the opposition are political in nature. He further requested the House to approve the bill’s introduction.
This bill has been introduced in a situation of an impasse in both houses over the Manipur crisis. The opposition is waiting for Prime Minister Modi to come out and speak on the Manipur issue and the opposition bloc INDIA has also introduced a no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha.