Millennium Post

Prez withholds assent to another Delhi Govt Bill

After returning back Delhi Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery of Services Amendment Bill 2015, President Pranab Mukherjee has withheld his assent on another controversial bill passed by the Delhi Government. In 2015, the Delhi Assembly passed a Bill proposing amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) that broadens the scope of magisterial probes into cases of suspicious deaths, kidnapping, rapes and similar crimes under police/magisterial custody. The Opposition BJP resented the move arguing that the Delhi Assembly is "overstepping" into the jurisdiction of Parliament which alone has the power to make changes to the CrPC, backing its stand with the Article-239 (AA) 69th Amendment Act of 191, of the Constitution. CrPC is a subject in the Concurrent list.

Delhi Home Minister Satyender Jain while introducing "The Code of Criminal Procedure (Delhi Amendment) Bill, said that with the amendment to Section 176(1) of CrPC, the government wanted to widen its scope to cover any other cases of suspicious disappearance, rapes in police custody and suspicious death.

In the existing CrPC legislation, the magisterial probe is ordered only in cases of custodial death, homicide, suicide of a woman or death of a woman, but the government wanted to expand the purview and empower sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) and district magistrates (DMs) with quasi-judicial powers through the proposed revision.

Union Home ministry in its note to the President claimed that the Kejriwal government was challenging the authority of Parliament, and the bill was brought in the assembly without the consent of Lt Governor and stood in contravention to section 45 of GNCTD (Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi) Act that mandates the LG's concurrence before tabling the bill.
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