New Delhi: Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena on Sunday flagged “procedural lapses” in summoning a day-long session of the Delhi Assembly on April 17, drawing a sharp reaction from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who said he would want the LG to study the Constitution again. This came on a day Kejriwal was questioned for about nine hours by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the Delhi excise policy case. In a note to the Delhi government, Saxena has pointed out that the Speaker of the Delhi Legislative Assembly has proposed to call the second part of the fourth session of the seventh Assembly, whereas the Delhi Cabinet has recommended convening a one-day session of the House, officials at the LG office said. As per Rules and Act, the Assembly, which was adjourned sine die on March 29, 2023, has to be prorogued before a fresh session can be convened. As a session remains unprorogued, a new session cannot be convened, they said.
“I fail to understand as to under what circumstances and under which provision of the GNCTD Act, 1991 the Second Part of the Fourth Session (Budget session) of the Seventh Legislative Assembly has been convened instead of moving a proposal for prorogation of the Budget Session and convening of the ‘One-Day Session as per the Cabinet Decision’,” VK Saxena said in his note.
This convening of the session is not in accordance with the cabinet decision and hence inconsistent with the statutory provisions envisaged under Section 6 of the Government of NCT of Delhi Act, 1991, he said.
“Therefore, the proposed Second Part of the Fourth session on April 17 being summoned without following the due procedure, should not be convened,” he added.
The LG, in his note, “advised” the government to direct the concerned department to submit an appropriate proposal to prorogue the fourth session (Budget Session) of the seventh Legislative Assembly with immediate effect, and for summoning a one-day session in accordance with provisions of section 6 of the GNCTD Act, 1991.
Saxena further highlighted that there was no indication of any proposed legislative business to be transacted by the Assembly on Monday.
“This also needs to be reflected in the Cabinet Decision as per Rule 15 (1) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi Rules, 1997 to allow the members of the House to come prepared for fruitful deliberations he said.
Reacting to the LG’s note, Kejriwal asserted that the Delhi Assembly’s day-long session called by his government will be held on Monday.
“The session will be held tomorrow. I want the LG sahib to study the Constitution again or have some advisor who is at least well-educated and has knowledge about it,” the chief minister said after emerging from the CBI office.
Earlier, Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj hit out at Saxena over his note.
“Let me enlighten LG saab… Under Rule 17 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Delhi Assembly, Hon’ble Speaker has the power to call a sitting of the House ‘at any time after the House has been adjourned sine die’.
“However, as per prevailing parliamentary practice, the Speaker convenes (the House) only on the recommendation of the Cabinet. The House has not been prorogued and prorogation can be done only on recommendation of the Cabinet,” Bharadwaj said in a series of tweets. .
“As there was no recommendation of the Cabinet for prorogation, the Hon’ble Speaker rightly summoned the House under Rule 17(2),” he said.
Kejriwal had said on Saturday that a resolution would be tabled in the upcoming session of the Delhi Assembly urging the Center to fix a time limit for governors and Lt governors to carry out their constitutional functions.
He alleged that in the national capital, the LG has “regularly meddled” with the democratic mandate of Delhi’s Legislature, blocked the presentation of the budget and had gone even further to bring the day-to-day executive functioning of the government to a standstill. Under the guise of the unconstitutional 2021 amendment to the GNCTD Act.