President Pranab Mukherjee has returned a Bill passed by the Delhi Assembly on Right to Citizen for Time Bound Delivery Services which sought an amendment of the Union government Bill on the same issue.
The President has sought an explanation from the Delhi government on a particular clause of defining its character. Sources in Rashtrapati Bhavan clarified that it was customary for the President to go by the advice of the Council of Ministers of the Central government. This might reignite a fresh debate between the Union Home Ministry and the Delhi government regarding the Constitutional powers of the Union Territory of Delhi.
In November 2015, the Delhi government had passed a Bill on the Right of Citizen for Time Bound Delivery Service seeking various amendments to Delhi (Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery of Services) Act, 2011.
The Bill aims at providing citizens with time bound delivery of government services. By providing services in a time bound manner, the key provisions of the Amendment Bill sought to make the life of common man hassle free. The Bill also aimed to ensure mandatory and automatic compensation for citizens, if government services are not provided to them in time.
But the real issue arises about defining the character of the Delhi government. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal inserted a new Amendment to the Clause C(f) of the Central legislation which said: "The expression 'Government' means the Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi appointed by the President under Article 239 and designated as such under Article 239 AA of the Constitution."
But the Kejriwal government substituted the parent act by amending the clause by saying that "Government " means the National Capital Territory of Delhi which is a total contravention of the Central act. The Delhi government Act went on to add a new clause f(i) under subsection 2 of the proposed Act to define the role of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.
It says: "The expression 'Lieutenant Governor' means the Administrator appointed under Article 239 by the President and designated as such under Article 239AA of the Constitution," shall be added.
The Bill was kept pending in the Home ministry for over a year. Kejriwal made several requests to the office of the President to give assent and the argument given by the Delhi government was that the proposed law would strengthen the common man of the Capital.
While introducing the Bill in the Delhi Assembly, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on the floor of the House that Act 2011 Act was an "eyewash" and "laughable" because, in case of delays in issuance of a certificate, a citizen would be entitled to a compensation of Rs 10 per day and a maximum of Rs 200.
"In the last four years, there was no complaint of a delay in issuing a certificate nor was any officer's salary deducted for causing the delay." He said citizens will not have to run from pillar to post to receive compensation. A competent officer will calculate the delay in service and pay the due amount to the citizen and the head of the department will fix the responsibility for the delay later.
Now, the Bill has come back to the Delhi government and sources said they would take a view on the suggestions of the President soon. The Bill entails amendments in 12 sections of the 2011 Act and introduces two new ones.