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Speaker asks LG to withdraw order on 'reserved subjects'

NEW DELHI: Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel has written to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, asking the latter to withdraw an order that the House presiding officer cannot accept questions on reserved subjects, informed sources said on Wednesday.
Goel, Aam Aadmi Party MLAs and ministers of the Delhi government wore black bands in the House on Wednesday to protest Baijal's contention that the Speaker cannot accept questions on reserved subjects, with land, law and services, among others labelled as reserved subjects.
Goel told reporters that he would write to the Speakers of the state Assemblies, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and the President on the issue, if the LG did not withdraw his order in two to three days.
"The officers should realise that legislation on reserved subjects and seeking replies on matters of public interest are two different issues," the Speaker stated, adding that officers were duty-bound to provide replies to all questions admitted by the House.
The LG's letter to the Law Department of Delhi stated that he had consulted the Legal Affairs Department of the Centre, which said that the Speaker cannot allow such reserved subject questions.
On Wednesday, initially only AAP MLAs and ministers entered the House wearing black bands.
During Wednesday's question-answer session, responding to the first question, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that the answer to the question had not been provided by Delhi government officials.
Goel also said that written answers to 17 out of 40 questions were not provided by officials.
As the House became agitated over the issue, the Speaker referred the question to the Question and Reference Committee of the Assembly.
Later, the Speaker also put on a black band to protest LG's decision.
Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa said that his party MLAs were also of the opinion that all questions should be answered.
However, he said, the Speaker should not wear a black band as he would be breaking a tradition.
The Speaker gave the ruling in the House that on behalf of the Home Ministry, the LG has sent the letter to the Delhi Assembly Secretariat, which means that Raj Niwas is challenging the Speaker.
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