‘We are breaking Constitutional machinery’: Chidamabaram in RS, citing Delhi services bill, Article 370

ANI | | Posted by Lingamgunta Nirmitha Rao
Aug 08, 2023 09:33 AM IST

Chidambaram said that people will know government (Centre) is attempting to take away powers of the elected representatives and giving it to the bureaucrats.

Speaking in Rajya Sabha over the Delhi Services Bill, Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday said that we talk about break down of the Constitution of India while today we are breaking the Constitutional machinery.

Congress MP P. Chidambaram (ANI)
Congress MP P. Chidambaram (ANI)

“Please remember we always talk about breakdown of the Constitution of India, breakdown of the Constitutional governance. Article 355, 356 speaks about the breakdown of the Constitutional machinery. What are we doing today, we are breaking the Constitutional machinery. By passing this bill, we are breaking the Constitutional machinery. We broke it on August 5, 2019 in Kashmir, divided a state into two Union Territories and send a chill in the spines of every that any state can be broken into Union Territories”, he said in Rajya Sabha.

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Chidambaram further said, “We should collectively represent all the states. What are we? Are we a union of states? or are we going to become a union of moths eaten states? or union of moths eaten union territories? Please remember the old dictum - No taxation without representation. That's the fundamental premise of a representative and parliamentary democracy.”

Quoting the Constitution, the senior Congress leader emphasized the importance of “the three magical words – aid and advice.”

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“Delhi has, according to the figures I saw today, 3.17 crore people. This 3.17 crore elected government. They elected the government to govern them, to take decisions on their behalf. The underlined premise is we are a representative and parliamentary democracy. There are these magical words in the Constitution - There shall be a council of ministers with Chief Minister at its head to aid and advice the Lieutenant Governor. The word aid and advice isn't some kind of a friendly advice. It has a long constitutional history. Aid and advice means the real power is within the council of ministers while the LG exercises formal powers. The real power is within the ministers of the government while the formal powers is with the president of india. Aid and advice are the magical words. What we are doing today is subverting the three magical words - aid and advice”, Chidambaram said.

Chidambaram said that the people will know the government (Centre) is attempting to take away powers of the elected representatives and giving it to the bureaucrats.

“People are watching us. They will know that the government is attempting to take away the real powers of the elected representatives and put it in the hands of bureucrats”, he said.

Further, questioning the merit of the Bill, he said, “What is the merit to file this Bill, leave alone the Constitutional aspects? What is the merit to file? Is there a merit in a three-member authority where two officers will constitute a majority and overrule the chief minister? Is there a merit when two members of the three constitute a quorm, they can even call a meeting, hold a meeting without the chief minister? Is there a merit that even when a decision is taken unanimously, the LG can overrule it? is there a merit that the member secretary who is the principal secretary of Home will convene a meeting with or without the chief minister? What is the merit? I didn't hear the Honourable member mention any merit in any clause of this Bill. Which clause is any merit in it?”

Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha today passed the Bill that gives power to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi to control Group A services that includes appointments, transfers and postings of officers in the national capital.

The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023 was passed with 131 MPs voted in its favour and 102 against it after over seven-hour long discussion. Earlier, the Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 3 by voice vote following a five-hour debate.

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