Monsoon Session, Day 10: Delhi Services Bill likely to spark fresh uproar in Lok Sabha today

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NEW DELHI: Stormy scenes are likely in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday as the members debate The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which was introduced the day before.

The Bill, which seeks to replace the Centre’s Ordinance over the control of services in the national capital and was introduced by the Union Minister for State for Home, Nityanand Rai, will be taken up for consideration and passage by the Lower House on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the logjam in both Houses over the Manipur situation and the demand for a discussion and a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is likely to persist as the Parliament reconvenes on Wednesday.

The Bill was introduced on Tuesday amid continued slogan-shouting by members in the Opposition benches.

However, rejecting the contentions put forward by members in the Opposition, Home Minister Amit Shah, citing a Supreme Court ruling, said the Constitution has vested the Lower House with the power to table any law pertaining to Delhi for consideration and passage.

Further, invoking the Supreme Court judgement, the Home Minister said the Parliament could bring any law pertaining to Delhi and the protests by the Oppoisition were purely for political reasons.

The Bill empowers the Central Government to make rules in connection with the affairs of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi including the functions, terms and other conditions of service of officers and employees.

The Centre, on May 19, promulgated the Ordinance for control of services in Delhi. The Ordinance was promulgated days after the Supreme Court ruling, vesting control of services in the national capital in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.

The BJP, meanwhile, has issued a three-line whip to its Lok Sabha members to be present through the length of the session in the Lower House on Wednesday.

The Bill is also scheduled in the list of businesses in the Rajya Sabha for this week.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been seeking support of fellow Opposition parties against the Ordinance, especially in the Rajya Sabha, where the Treasury benches lack a majority.

As part of efforts to bring the Opposition parties together against the Bill, the AAP convener met several Opposition leaders, including his West Bengal and Bihar counterparts Mamata Banerjee and Nitish Kumar.

The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A), including the Congress, have already cleared their stand over the Bill, saying they would oppose it, claiming that it seeks to destroy the federal structure of governance.

Meanwhile, the Biju Janata Dal, which is neither a part of the Opposition’s I.N.D.I.A bloc nor of the ruling NDA, also cleared its stand on Tuesday, saying they will support the Centre on the Bill.

The BJD’s official stand came as a blow to the united Opposition, which has been trying to cobble up a majority to defeat the Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
Later, on Tuesday, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram hit out at the BJD and YSRCP for extending their support to the Centre on the Bill.
The former Home Minister said he failed to understand what merit they found in the proposed legislation.

“I can understand BJP MPs supporting the Delhi Services Authority Bill, but I fail to understand what merit in the bill was found by the BJD and YSRCP parties,” Chidambaram said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, as many as three Bills were passed in the Parliament amid protests by the Opposition. These included the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2023; Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill 2023 and Mediation Bill, 2021.

All the Bills were passed through voice vote and the Upper House was then adjourned for the day till August 2.

After the Parliament reconvenes at 11 am on Wednesday, the floor leaders, including the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, will lead a 21-member delegation of Opposition MPs to the Rashtrapati Bhavan for a meeting with President Droupadi Murmu.

The delegation is likely to hand in a memorandum to the President over Manipur.

According to the sources, the meeting is scheduled at 11.30 am on Wednesday.

The meeting will take place in the backdrop of the Opposition’s demand for a discussion on the Manipur situation, as well as a statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the floor of Parliament.

Earlier, ahead of the start of the Monsoon Session, PM Modi had condemned the Manipur viral video, purportedly showing two women being stripped and paraded naked, saying all the perpetrators behind the incident will be identified and brought to book.

The Opposition has been insisting on a detailed discussion on the strife-torn state under Rule 267.

As the Upper House re-assembles on Wednesday, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi will move the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023 in the Rajya Sabha today for its consideration and passage to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. The Bill was earlier passed by the Lok Sabha.

Besides, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, is also likely to move the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023 in Rajya Sabha today for its consideration and passage to amend the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. The Bill was earlier passed by the Lok Sabha.

Moreover, Union Minister of Textiles, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Piyush Goyal, will move the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023 in the Rajya Sabha.

In the Lok Sabha, Union Minister Jitendra Singh is scheduled to make statements on the status of implementation of the recommendations contained in the 355th Report of the Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change on action taken by the Centre on the recommendations/observations contained in the 345th Report of the Committee on Demands for Grants (2021-2022) pertaining to the Department of Space.

Later into the session, Union Home Minister Amit Shah will move the Delhi Services Bill, recommending that the amended Delhi Services Bill or the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 be taken up for discussion and passage in the Lower House. (ANI)

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