24 Mar 2021: Rajya Sabha clears Delhi Bill amid uproar; Opposition stages walkout
The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday cleared a controversial proposed law to give more powers to Delhi's Lieutenant Governor (L-G), a representative of the Centre.
The Bill is said to undermine the elected Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi.
Several parties—including the Indian National Congress, Biju Janata Dal, Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party, and Samajwadi Party—opposed the Bill and staged a walkout.
Details: Rajya Sabha passed GNCTD Amendment Bill
The Rajya Sabha has cleared the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
The Bill seeks to amend the GNCT of Delhi Act, 1991, and redefines Delhi Government as the L-G.
It says the L-G's opinion "shall be obtained" on all such matters as may be specified by him before any executive action on decisions of the Council of Ministers.
Opposition: AAP to move Supreme Court
The Bill was passed after two days of chaos in the Rajya Sabha, with the Opposition calling it anti-democratic and unconstitutional.
The Opposition has been demanding that the Bill be sent to a Select Committee.
AAP's Rajya Sabha MP ND Gupta had earlier said in a tweet that the party will move the Supreme Court if the Bill is passed.
CM: 'Sad day for Indian democracy'
Reacting to the development, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, "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 said.
Kejriwal had earlier called the Bill "an insult to the people of Delhi."
Context: AAP had secured landslide victory in 2020 elections
The Kejriwal-led AAP had won the 2020 Assembly elections in Delhi, bagging a whopping 67 out of 70 Assembly seats.
The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—which leads the ruling National Democratic Alliance at the Centre—had won a meager three seats during the election.
The AAP has notably often accused the BJP of trying to rule Delhi by proxy, through the L-G.
Supreme Court: Bill seen as attempt to circumvent Supreme Court's 2018 decision
The Bill is viewed as a way to circumvent the interpretation made by the Supreme Court in the Delhi v/s LG case.
In 2018, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the SC had held that the L-G is "bound by the aid and advice" of the Council of Ministers of Delhi Government, except in matters of land, police, and public order.