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Speaker cracks whip on bureaucrats for refusing to answer questions

New Delhi: Cracking the whip on Delhi's bureaucrats for allegedly refusing to answers questions raised by legislators in the Delhi Assembly, Speaker Ram Niwas Goel has sent around a dozen such matters to House panels for action since the Budget Session began on March 16.
The matters involve officers of different departments of the Delhi government.
The various Committees of the Assembly will submit their reports and the House will take action based on recommendations by the panels, the speaker said.
The assembly's Budget Session began on March 16 and is scheduled to end on April 3.
Earlier this month, the Union Law Ministry, in a communication to the Lieutenant Governor's office, said legally the speaker cannot admit question on any "reserved subject" and departments concerned are refusing answers to questions asked by MLAs in the House on subjects such as land, police, services and law and order among others.
The communication was sent by the Law Ministry through the Union Home Ministry on March 19.
"The LG and officers cannot challenge the authority of the Assembly. Once the committees file their reports, action will be taken against officers who have either refused to answer questions or have not submitted proper reply," Goel told media persons.
On March 19, the speaker had forwarded a matter pertaining to vigilance department officers refusing to answer a written question by an MLA to the House's Privilege Committee for probe.
Goel, on March 20, had forwarded four matters to the Question and Reference Committee after MLAs of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party had complained to him that officers had not submitted proper answers.
However, bureaucrats – including Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash and his predecessor MM Nutty – have approached courts against the decisions of the House panels seeking relief.
The speaker said that last Wednesday, out of the 40 written questions raised by legislators in the House, the departments declined to provide answers pertaining to 17 questions, saying they fall under the "reserved subject" category.
In protest against the Centre and the LG, Goel, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, AAP ministers and legislators wore black bands on March 28.
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