Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday termed ‘unconstitutional’ Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s message to the Delhi Assembly seeking to withdraw powers of the department-related standing committees, and the House constituted a nine-member panel to look into the issue.

As the House passed a resolution, the opposition members staged a walkout in protest against the move.The day-long session saw many legislators taking part in a discussion on Baijal’s recent message to the Assembly.

The committee has eight AAP MLAs and one BJP MLA — Jagdish Pradhan — as its members.
Responding to the discussion, Sisodia said the House committees had only been fixing the accountability of officers, and alleged that the “BJP does not believe in democracy” and support the executive, sidelining the interests of the people.

Citing a Supreme Court’s order pertaining to the Arunachal Pradesh Governor’s message to the state Assembly, Sisodia said, “The Lt Governor does not have discretionary power to send message to the House without aid and advice of the Cabinet.”

“Therefore, the Lt-Governor’s message is unconstitutional and it is also in violation of the SC order,” Sisodia said.

He said the department-related standing committees were just ensuring that the people did not have to face any problem, by fixing the accountability of officers.

Hitting out at Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta for alleging that the House committees have more power than the Lok Sabha committees, he said, “Law is not above the country and its people. In democracy, there is a system to fix the responsibility of the executive.”

On Gupta’s allegations that the committees were “harassing” officers by frequently summoning them, Sisodia asserted that fixing the accountability of bureaucracy towards people was an important aspect of the democracy.

“We (ministers) will also appear before the committees of the House if we were summoned by them,” he also said.

The resolution passed by the Assembly states that the nine-member committee will look into judiciousness of the Lieutenant Governor’s concerns regarding functioning of the standing committees and examine unconstitutionality of Baijal’s message.

Meanwhile, Gupta claimed that the House committees were enjoying unlimited powers which even the Lok Sabha committees lacked.

On 13 September, 2017, Baijal had sent a “message” to the Delhi Assembly, seeking to withdraw the power of the committees.

In the message, the LG had accused the committees of misusing their powers to “control and pressurise” officers.

Meanwhile, Sisodia said that the committees have held officers accountable on a range of issues like desilting of drains, treatment in hospitals, development works in unauthorised colonies and water.
“Why is the L-G protecting Delhi government officers from being asked to perform their duties?” he said.