The Bill to reunify the three existing Municipal Corporations of Delhi into one, as earlier, got Parliament’s approval on Tuesday, with the Rajya Sabha’s assent to the legislation.
The Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022, passed by the Lok Sabha on March 31, unifies the civic bodies “with an aim to provide greater transparency, improved governance and more efficient delivery of civic service for the people of Delhi”.
Replying to the debate on this Bill, Home Minister Amit Shah rejected the Opposition’s claim that the Central government cannot bring this amendment and said that it was not against the federal structure as the National Capital Territory of Delhi is not a complete state.
He also said that he wanted to clarify that Delhi has a status different from a Union Territory and there are separate provisions under the Constitution.
Shah said the government had to bring this Bill because of the “step-motherly” treatment by the AAP government to the municipal corporations in Delhi and accused them of rejecting a number of proposals sent by the civic bodies in the past few years, which “severely affected” development.
“This Bill has been brought under the provision of Article 249 AA of the Constitution and if someone will go through it, all confusions will be cleared at once,” he said.
He also said that under the provisions of Section 249 AA(3B), the Parliament has the right to enact any law for the National Capital Territory Region and also has power under rule 249AA(3C) to negate or amend act spassed by the Delhi Assembly.
Responding to AAP member Sanjay Singh’s claim that the government brought this bill out of phobia, he said that his BJP had won in Assembly elections in four states again where the AAP party forfeited their deposits in 349 seats in Uttar Pradesh and 68 seats in Uttarakhand.
He also said that the Fifth Finance Commission of Delhi had recommended giving Rs 40,541 crore to the three corporations, and the Delhi government agreed for Rs 21,000 crore but that too was not given, and as a result, all the three corporations have the liability of over 16,000 crore as of now.
Earlier, Sanjay Singh said that this Bill was not for the reunification of municipal corporations in Delhi but as “the BJP was scared of the AAP” while Trinamool Congress member Jawahar Sirkar said that a step like this would lead to delimitation, and that will take 18 months.
CPI-M’s John Brittas said: “If the government ruling the entire country rules over Delhi, it will neglect its duties as the national government and will do injustice to the people.”
BJD’s Prasanna Acharya, while supporting the Bill, said that the government should ensure that the municipal elections will not be deferred beyond six months.