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Delhi services bill perfectly, legitimately valid: Ranjan Gogoi in Rajya Sabha

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NEW DELHI, Aug 7 (PTI): Former Chief Justice of India and Rajya Sabha MP Ranjan Gogoi on Monday said the bill to replace an ordinance for handling the transfers and postings of officials in the Delhi government is “perfectly, legitimately valid”.

Home Minister Amit Shah introduced the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023 for consideration in the Rajya Sabha.

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The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha last week.

Participating in the debate on the bill, Gogoi, a nominated member of the Upper House, said it is the prerogative and the right of the members of the House to debate, and the question of the proposed legislation being sub-judice does not arise.

Several leaders from the opposition parties have termed the Delhi services bill as “unconstitutional”.

Some even suggested that Parliament should not take up the bill saying the matter was pending before the Supreme Court.

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“So far as overreaching or outreaching the order of the court, Supreme Court, is concerned, very shortly put the position in my perception is this. The state legislature makes laws for the states.

Parliament makes laws for the Union Territories,” he said in his maiden speech in the House.

He said for the National Capital Region of Delhi, which has a special status, the state legislature or the legislature of Delhi makes the laws on state subjects except three matters. But as pointed by Mahesh Jethmalani (BJP), Gogoi said Parliament has the power to frame laws beyond the three matters and that is exactly what the bill is seeking to do.

“Therefore, there is no question of overreaching,” he said.

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Gogoi further said there is “absolute freedom” of speech in Parliament and whatever a member says in Parliament cannot be questioned in a court of law.

The former chief justice of India spoke on various aspects of the bill and other law points, and asserted that “…in my respectful submission, my contention, Bill is perfectly, legitimately valid”.

According to the bill, the National Capital Civil Services Authority will consist of the chief minister, chief secretary and the principal home secretary of Delhi.

The bill empowers the authority to make recommendations to the Delhi lieutenant governor regarding transfers and postings of officials and disciplinary matters.

It also empowers the LG to exercise his sole discretion on several matters, including those recommended by the National Capital Civil Services Authority, and the summoning, prorogation and dissolution of the Delhi Legislative Assembly.

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