Delhi services bill passed in Rajya Sabha by 29 votes


New Delhi: After Lok Sabha, the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023, was passed by Rajya Sabha on Monday after the division of votes through slips.

There were 131 votes in favour of the bill compared with 102 votes against it.

Due to some technical glitch in the automatic voting machine, the division of votes were done through slips.

The voting on the Delhi services bill was conducted after a nearly 10-hour-long debate which was replied to by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The bill to replace an ordinance for handling the transfers and postings of officials in the Delhi government was introduced in the Upper House of Parliament by Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday. It was passed by the Lok Sabha last week.

Shah made it clear that the central government has the power to make laws on Union territories and Delhi, being a Union Territory, the Centre enjoys full rights to make rules also.

Earlier, MPs of the ruling BJP and opposition parties, especially the AAP, exchanged barbs in the Rajya Sabha which witnessed unruly scenes during the debate.

During the debate on the bill, BJP member Anil Jain alleged the AAP government in Delhi had indulged in corrupt practices and half-a-dozen party leaders have even been jailed and the present chief minister is their leader.

Taking strong objection to the remark, CPI(M) member Dr V Sivadasan raised a point under Rule 238, claiming that Jain has made a derogatory statement against the chief minister and taken his name also.

AAP member Sandeep Kumar Pathak also raised a similar point of order under the same rule, saying there cannot be allegations against the chief minister and former deputy chief minister as the matter is sub-judice.

AAP MP Raghav Chadha raised a point of order under Rule 110, saying a member should not deviate from the subject and should speak on the bill.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar asked Pathak to provide details about the matters which are sub-judice.

CPI member John Brittas also raised a point of order under Rule 240 against the statement made by Jain and said there cannot be persistently irrelevant discussion and tedious argument.

Later, RJD member Manoj Jha raised a point of order when BJP member Surendra Singh Nagar levelled allegations against the Delhi government and AAP leaders.

Nagar also said that half-a-dozen of AAP leaders have been jailed. He described the Delhi chief minister as a person who does not keeps his word.

Stressing the need for the bill, he said Home Minister Amit Shah helped the people of Delhi by sending all relief materials like oxygen cylinders and supplies during Covid.

Participating in the debate, TMC MP Derek O’Brien asked, “Why a child of democracy (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) would mutilate democracy.” “Why would he (prime minister) ensure that one-third of the bills passed in Parliament in the last three years would be anti-federal,” he posed.

O’Brien also asked about how many delegations the Union Government have been sent to states like Assam where crime against women is the highest.

Intervening, Dhankhar cautioned the TMC MP to keep his speech focused on the bill and also expunged some other remarks by him against the prime minister and some other ministers.

When O’Brien raised issues related to corruption, the treasury benches opposed it. He also said the prime minister should have been present during the discussion on the bill.

Dhankhar called BJP member Kavita Patidar to participate in the debate. But O’Brien continued with his speech which perturbed the chairman and forced him to take the name of the TMC leader.

He accused the TMC MP of disrupting the debate in the House.

Participating in the debate, Patidar supported the bill and reminded the opposition of the Emergency period.

Earlier, JMM member Mahua Maji and Congress MP Ajit Kumar Bhuyan opposed the bill, describing it as undemocratic and against the federal structure of the country. RJD MP A D Singh opposed the bill.

Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale also participated in the debate and supported the bill.

The AAP-led Delhi government has been at loggerheads with the Centre over the control of Group-A officers in the National Capital Territory administration.

In May, the Centre promulgated the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023, that overturned the Supreme Court judgment handing over control of “services” in the NCT administration to the Delhi government.

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