Officials’ failure to reply referred to Delhi assembly’s Privilege Committee

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New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) As the Principal Secretaries to the Delhi government failed in providing answers to five questions asked by the MLAs on the fourth day of the Delhi assembly’s special session, Speaker Ram Niwas Goel on Monday referred the matter to the Privilege Committee.

Goel had directed the Principal Secretaries of Education, Revenue and Power Departments to provide on Monday the answers to five written questions submitted by the MLAs.

Of the questions, three were asked on Wednesday, the first day of the session.

As the House proceedings began on Monday, the ministers of the departments concerned told the Speaker that officers had not provided answers despite his warnings not to ignore the questions.

For one question, the answers was provided, but it was not satisfactory.

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The Speaker, who earlier also condemned the officers for this attitude, said: “In the history of democracy this incident (of not providing answers by the officers) will be written in black letters.

“It is not only the insult of House, but also the Constitution and the people of Delhi.

“I am referring the matter to the Privilege Committee for action. I ask ministers to also put their report on the issue before the committee…I direct the committee to submit its report within a month and before the next session.”

Goel said officers, while taking oath of the office, say that they will work without any pressure.

“These answers can be taken through RTI also, but the elected government is denied to seek answers,” he added.

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Earlier, Goel termed the failure of government officials to provide written answers to questions raised in the house as an “undeclared emergency” and blamed Lt Governor Anil Baijal for this.

The three-day Assembly session started on Wednesday and was earlier scheduled to conclude on Friday. It was extended till Monday only for these answers.

It is not the first time that Delhi officers have refused to give written answers to Assembly questions.

During the Assembly’s Budget session in March, the Speaker had said that the Lt Governor had informed that the presiding officer could not accept any questions on reserved subjects like land, law and services.

One of the questions for which a written answer was not provided pertained to vacant posts in the Education Department as the appointment of officers comes under the ambit of Services Department, which is a reserved subject.

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