In a significant political development, the Delhi Services Bill was successfully passed in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, August 7. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured a major victory as the bill paves the way for the central government to assume control over bureaucrats in the Delhi administration. The legislation, formally known as the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023, garnered heated debate and polarizing opinions before being ratified.
The bill, which aims to replace an existing ordinance governing the transfers and postings of officials within the Delhi government, had already sailed through the Lok Sabha with a resounding voice vote last Thursday. However, its journey through the upper house of Parliament proved to be a more challenging endeavor.
With 131 votes in favor and 102 against, the Rajya Sabha approved the bill, presenting a formidable test for the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) due to its delicate majority standing in the upper house. Home Minister Amit Shah, a key proponent of the bill, staunchly defended its objectives, emphasizing its potential to usher in effective governance and combat corruption within the national capital.
Opposition parties, notably INDIA and the BRS, vehemently opposed the legislation, labeling it as “unconstitutional, undemocratic, and against the spirit of federalism.” The dissenting voices, however, found themselves outnumbered as the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) supported the bill’s passage, effectively negating the efforts of the opposition camp.
The proceedings were not without their dramatic moments. The opposition had strategized to challenge the bill’s passage by orchestrating the appearance of political heavyweights, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and ailing leader Shibu Soren, in a symbolic display of resistance. Despite their efforts, the bill continued its march towards enactment.
Delhi’s Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, a vocal critic of the bill, did not mince words in expressing his dissatisfaction. “PM Modi does not obey the Supreme Court’s order. The public had clearly said that the Centre should not interfere in Delhi by defeating them, but PM does not want to listen to the public,” Kejriwal stated, further branding the passage of the bill as a “black day in the history of India’s democracy.”
However, Amit Shah, the architect behind the bill, refuted the allegations that the legislation contradicts a previous Supreme Court judgment. Shah emphasized the government’s commitment to upholding the principles of governance while ensuring that Delhi’s administration functions cohesively and efficiently.
As the nation digests this political milestone, the ramifications of the Delhi Services Bill’s passage continue to reverberate across the political landscape. The bill’s implementation promises to reshape the power dynamics within Delhi’s governance structure, sparking both celebration and contention among various stakeholders.