With passage of Delhi services bill, administration to get streamlined
New Delhi: The administrative apparatus of the Delhi government is likely to get streamlined once the GNCTD (Amendment) Bill, 2023, passed by parliament, is implemented as it will bring clarity on the issue of control of services in the national capital.
Parliament on Monday passed the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023, that gives the central government control over bureaucrats in the Delhi government with the Rajya Sabha approving it with 131 votes in favour and 102 against.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah introduced the bill in the Upper House of Parliament. He said the proposed legislation is aimed at providing effective and corruption-free governance in the national capital.
The bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha last week, replaces an ordinance promulgated by the Centre for handling the transfers and postings of officials in the Delhi government.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) termed the bill “unconstitutional” with the party’s national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal calling it a “black day for Indian democracy” “This law is similar to the Government of India Act brought by the British in 1935. The people of Delhi will elect their government, but government will have no powers to function,” he said.
The bill passed by Rajya Sabha enslaves the people of Delhi, it is a “black day for Indian democracy”, he said.
The bill does away with the contentious Section 3A of the ordinance that held that the Delhi legislative assembly will not have control over services under Entry 41 of List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
Entry 41 of List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution pertains to the State public services and State Public Service Commission.
The bill, like the ordinance, provides for the establishment of the National Capital Civil Services Authority (NCCSA), which will comprise the chief minister who will serve as the chairperson, the principal home secretary of Delhi as the member secretary and the chief secretary of Delhi, who will serve as a member.
“The Authority shall have the responsibility to recommend the transfers and postings of all Group ‘A’ officers and officers of DANICS serving in the affairs of the government of National Capital Territory of Delhi but not officers serving in connection with any subject matter, either fully or in part, connected with Entries 1, 2 and 18 of List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution; and Entries 64, 65 and 66 of List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution… which is connected therewith or incidental thereto, to the Lieutenant Governor…,” it said.
“Entries 1, 2 and 18 of List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution relate to Public order, Police and Land. Entries 64, 65 and 66 of List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution relating to offences against laws with respect to any of the matters in the list, jurisdiction and powers of all courts, except the Supreme Court and fees in respect of any of the matters in this list.” The bill states that the “quorum for the meeting of NCCSA shall be of two members”. This indicates that despite the absence of the chief minister, the other two members can hold the meeting.
It empowers the Lt Governor to approve the recommendations of the NCCSA or ask for a reconsideration. It also that in case of a difference of opinion, the decision of the Lt Governor shall be final.
The bill states that in case the secretary to the Council of Ministers is of the opinion that the proposal considered and decided by the council is not in accordance with the provisions of any law, “it shall be the duty of the Secretary to the Council of Ministers to bring it to the notice of the Lieutenant Governor for taking a decision thereon”.
“Any matter which is likely to bring the government of National Capital Territory of Delhi into controversy with the central government or with any state government, the Supreme Court of India or the High Court of Delhi and such other authorities as may be determined, the Secretary to the Department concerned shall, as soon as possible, bring it to the notice of the Lieutenant Governor, the chief minister and the chief secretary in writing,” it says.
The chief secretary and the secretary to the department concerned shall be responsible for compliance with the provisions of the GNCTD (Amendment) Act, and “when either of them considers that there has been any material departure from the same, instead of giving effect to such departure, he shall personally bring it to the notice of the minister in-charge, the chief minister and the Lieutenant Governor immediately in writing”.
The Bill also states that the power to appoint authorities, board, and commissions will be with the President for any law of Parliament while for laws made by the Delhi legislative assembly for the time being in force, the NCCSA shall recommend a panel of suitable persons for constitution or appointment or nomination by the Lt Governor.
The bill also does away with the provision that mandated the NCCSA to submit an annual report to the Centre and Delhi government, which will be tabled in Parliament and the Delhi Legislative Assembly, a move labelled as “removing accountability” by AAP leaders.