Delhi’s Vidhan Sabha Committees are working to make government machinery accountable.
Why is the L-G protecting Delhi government officers from being asked to perform their duties?
The Delhi Legislative Assembly committees have been performing one of the primary roles of the legislative wing of government: keeping the executive accountable. Various committees, headed by The Committees have been successful in questioning Govt and official about unreasonable delays in execution of works. The Govt is answerable to Legislative Assembly about its spending on projects like Sewage treatment plants.
In a leading English daily, it has been reported today that the Lieutenant Governor’s (L-G) office has written to the Home Secretary that the committees are unconstitutional and should be dissolved. The letter quoted by the newspaper has not reached the members of the Delhi Assembly but has been leaked to the press by officials in the L-G office. The leaking of such communication is highly unfortunate.
In a press conference on this issue held at the party headquarters, senior leader of the party and the Chief Spokesperson of the Delhi unit Greater Kailash MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj said, “The newspaper report that quotes the L-G’s communication to the Home Secretary claims that the Committees functioning in Delhi are unconstitutional. The committees are being accused of summoning and pressurising officials of the Delhi government. Our question to the L-G is: are these officers being pressured by MLAs for any personal favours? The officers are being confronted with the slow pace of work that their departments are undertaking, apart from questioning them on irregularities in the working of departments and agencies.”
The Committees are pressuring officials to perform their duty toward the people of Delhi. The MLAs working on these Committees are holding officials accountable for their failure to ensure implementation of schemes, whether it is the free medicines scheme in hospitals or the cleaning of drains before monsoons. The Committees have found tremendous success in ensuring that the government machinery is working toward the benefit of the people. Why does the L-G believe that undue pressure is being built on officials? Why does his office grant leave to officials who have been summoned by Delhi Assembly Committees? Delhi’s MLAs are empowered to hold the bureaucracy responsible. The people of Delhi have elected us for this purpose.”
Mr Bharadwaj cited the example of a co-operative bank that had a massive fake membership and was giving out crores of rupees of loans fraudulently, among other irregularities it was committing. However, after the intervention of the House Committee, the Co-operative bank was forced to take corrective measures. Similarly, AAP MLAs Rajesh Gupta, Rituraj Jha and Sanjeev Jha provided several examples of the effectiveness of their committees in ensuring that the government machinery fulfils its responsibilities.
The Aam Aadmi Party strongly believes that the attempt to scuttle the working of Delhi Assembly Committees is anti-democratic. Elected representatives of the people are mandated to keep the bureaucracy accountable on their behalf. Such Committees function across the country and are an important part of India’s democracy. The L-G should explain why his office is against holding officials accountable.
The full press conference can be watched here: