GNCTD (Amendment) Act: L-G asks Speaker to make changes in rules for conducting House business
Delhi Lt Governor V K Saxena has asked the Assembly speaker to make changes in rules for the conduct of business and procedure of the House under the GNCTD (Amendment) Act, 2021, which is likely to be a new flashpoint with the ruling AAP.
The amendment which the L-G wants to be enforced will effectively put an end to the committees of the Assembly, said a statement from the Speaker's office.
In the statement, the Assembly Speaker's office asserted that Parliament can not take away its functioning to ensure accountability of the executive to the legislative.
The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021, accords primacy to Delhi's Lieutenant Governor (LG) over the elected government. According to the legislation, the ''government'' in Delhi means the ''Lieutenant Governor''.
Sources in the L-G's office said that even 14 months after the GNCTD (Amendment) Act, 2021, came into effect, the Delhi Assembly has kept necessary amendments in its 'Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business' pending.
It was pointed out that the Assembly and its committees were making rules to enable themselves to consider the matters of the day-to-day administration of Delhi or conduct inquiries in relation to administrative decisions in contravention of the Act, sources said.
The L-G, in his ''message'' to the Speaker, cited sub-section (1) of Section 33 of the GNCTD Act that enables the Assembly to make rules for regulating its procedure and the conduct of its business provided those rules do not empower it to consider the matters of the day-to-day administration of the capital or conduct enquiries in relation to the administrative decisions.
The Speaker's office stated the GNCTD (Amendment) Act ''prohibits'' the Assembly and its committees from making enquiries into administrative decisions. ''Then what will the committees look into? United Nations' affairs? Committees of the legislature look into administrative decisions and ask the government to fix responsibility of individual officers if found guilty by the committees,'' it said.
The legislature enforces accountability of the executive through these committees, it said.
''Parliament cannot, through an amendment, take away this fundamental function of the legislature. But this is what it has done through this amendment,'' said the Speaker's office.
L-G office sources said that Saxena has conveyed that ''necessary amendments in the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Legislative Assembly of National Capital Territory of Delhi, 1997, or any other existing Rule on the subject are immediately required to be made to make them in consonance with the provisions of the GNCTD (Amendment) Act''.
''Often, we have seen the Assembly discussing national and international issues in its sittings. A similar message was sent in 2014 by the then LG to the Delhi Assembly to prevent it from introducing and considering the Lokpal Bill,'' Sharma said.
He said if the Assembly fails to follow the L-G's message and make the necessary amendments in its rules of procedure and conduct of business, it will be against the Constitutional provisions and the Act.
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