Amid drama, teachers' regularisation bill passed
NEW DELHI: The Delhi Assembly on Wednesday passed a bill to make about 15,000 guest teachers in government schools in the national Capital permanent.
The Regularisation of Services of Guest Teachers and Teachers Engaged under 'Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan' Bill, 2017 was introduced in the Assembly by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, which was passed in the House through voice vote.
Earlier, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal had objected to the passage of the bill, saying that matters relating to 'services' fall beyond the legislative competence of the Delhi Assembly and that the proposed legislation was not in accordance with the Constitutional scheme.
Hitting out at the LG's for opposing the bill, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal proclaimed in the Assembly, "I am an elected chief minister, not a terrorist."
The day-long special session saw Kejriwal launch a broadside against the LG, BJP and the bureaucracy, alleging a nexus between them, prompting a walk-out by the opposition.
"Hum Delhil ke maalik hai (we are Delhi's masters), not the bureaucracy" he asserted at one point, eliciting loud cheers and table thumping by Aam Aadmi Party MLAs.
The AAP national convenor's combative speech – something he is known for – comes after a long gap during which he had remained quiet on social media and in the public, refraining from attacking the opposition or Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Kejriwal alleged that, on Baijal's directions, officials never showed files relating to the regularisation of teachers to Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio.
"What state secrets do these files contain that they cannot be shown to us? I want to tell the L-G that I am an elected CM of Delhi and not a terrorist. He (Sisodia) is an elected education minister, not a terrorist," Kejriwal said, drawing references from a dialogue of the 2010 Shah Rukh Khan starrer 'My Name is Khan'.
Kejriwal also took exception to Baijal's objection that the government did not consult the Law Department before introducing the Bill.
"People did not elect the law secretary, they elected us. The country is run on democracy, not bureaucracy. We are Delhi's masters. They (bureaucrats) will follow our orders," he said.
Sisodia affirmed that the Bill was introduced after due legal consultations and wondered why the LG was objecting to it when he had cleared the government's proposal to regularise services of around 150 Kashmiri migrant teachers employed in the city's schools on contractual basis since 1994.
"We do not agree with the LG's assertion that the matter comes under services. It is a matter of education and his stand amounts to insulting the Constitution, the teachers and the entire education system. Education does not just mean constructing schools. Recruitment and appointments of teachers cannot be treated separately," he said.
During the debate, Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta said the AAP government's real intention was not regularisation, but politicisation of the issue, for which it "has not actually followed the laid down procedures governing a Bill. The foundation of the Bill is flawed. One has to go by the rule of law, not rhetoric," Gupta said, when "invited" by Kejriwal to sort out the issues and bring amendments by sitting across the table "in my chamber".
Reacting to Gupta's objection, Kejriwal said that through his offer of an instant dialogue, he wanted to expose the "hollowness" of the opposition.
"If you have the guts, then confront us openly. Do not take cover behind officials and fire at us," Kejriwal said.
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