Rajya Sabha clears NCT Bill amid uproar, walkout by opposition parties

Opposition parties, including the Congress opposed the Bill stating that the proposed legislation was unconstitutional and demanded that it be referred to a select committee for scrutiny.
On Tuesday too, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned following a ruckus by the Opposition as the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was introduced in the House. (PTI PHOTO.)
On Tuesday too, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned following a ruckus by the Opposition as the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was introduced in the House. (PTI PHOTO.)
Published on Mar 24, 2021 11:19 PM IST
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The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday cleared the contentious National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that seeks to give overarching powers over Delhi’s daily functioning to the Centre-appointed Lieutenant Governor, despite uproar in the Upper House and a walkout by several opposition parties.

The bill was cleared following several hours of heated debate followed by a division of votes demanded by the opposition. Several parties including the Congress, BJD, YSRCP and Samajwadi Party also opposed the Bill and staged a walkout. The opposition also sought a division on votes. During voting, 83 members were in favour while 45 opposed the bill. The bill was cleared by Lok Sabha on Monday.

“I would like to tell the people of Delhi and the whole country that we have full belief in the Constitution. We did not bring this bill to create problems for the Delhi govt...I request every member to support the Bill unequivocally,” MoS G Krishna Reddy said in the Rajya Sabha.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said it was a “sad day for Indian democracy.”

“RS passes GNCTD amendment Bill. Sad day for Indian democracy. We will continue our struggle to restore power back to people. Whatever be the obstacles, we will continue doing good work. Work will neither stop nor slow down,” he tweeted.

Opposition parties, including the Congress opposed the Bill stating that the proposed legislation was unconstitutional and demanded that it be referred to a select committee for scrutiny.

Reddy said the amendments to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act were in no way undemocratic. “We’re making amendments to the Act brought in by Congress in 1991. These are not new. We are bringing these amendments to ensure that Delhi Government functions properly,” Reddy said.

The controversial bill says the “government” in Delhi will mean the L-G in the context of all legislation passed by the city-state’s assembly. Also, it makes it mandatory for the city government to seek the L-G’s opinion before any executive action.

On Tuesday too, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned following a ruckus by the Opposition as the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was introduced in the House.

Amid protests by the opposition, the house witnessed two adjournments in the second half. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge also said that the Bill should be sent to a select committee.

Opposing the bill, AAP MP Sanjay Singh said that the BJP government at the Centre has brought the bill as the party had lost the Delhi assembly elections twice. He said that by opposing the bill he was seeking “justice” for the two crore people of Delhi.

Explaining the rationale behind the bill, Reddy said that the amendments have been brought to remove ambiguities in the 1991 Act. He stressed that changes in the law have been sought in the spirit of what has been said in the Supreme Court judgement. He asserted there was no political angle and the amendments were on “technical” grounds.

After Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh asked if the motion on the bill could be adopted, the opposition raised the demand for a division of votes. The division of votes took place manually through paper slips due to Covid-19 protocols.

With 83 ‘ayes’ and 45 ‘noes’ the motion that the bill be taken up for consideration was adopted. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge announced that the Congress too would stage a walk-out to oppose the bill.

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Thursday, June 30, 2022