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States Assembly

Speaker supreme on all matters in-house: Ram Niwas Goel

NEW DELHI: Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel on Wednesday asserted his supremacy in all things related to the state assembly as he requested the ministers to ensure that the directions they give to the officers of their departments are implemented, and also that they share the information asked of them and attend assembly committees.

Goel said that the principal secretary, law, of Delhi government in a letter on March 23, had admitted that the Speaker is ”final authority” in matters related to the assembly and its committees.

”He has viewed that no information, other than those related to national security or being against the safety of the state, in the form of any question or documents can be denied to the Assembly or its committees,” the Delhi Assembly Speaker said.

If any department has any problems in providing such information as sought by the committees then they will inform the minister concerned, who will convey it to the Speaker, whose decision on it will be final, he said citing the law secretary’s view.

Also, no officer will be absent from meetings of the committees without prior permission to the speaker, he said.

Any infringement of these will be referred to the Privileges committee, Goel said, as he asked a copy of the letter to be sent to the Chief Secretary as well.

”Ensuring answerability of the executive is the primary responsibility of the Vidhan Sabha. The government is answerable to the Legislature and the LG has no right to interfere in the working of the Legislative Assembly,” Goel said.

The subject of assembly is a state subject and LG can work only according to the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, he said ”It’s highly unfortunate that some officers are working, without any knowledge to the ministers concerned, as per ‘illegal and unconstitutional’ directions of the LG,” Goel said in the assembly.

He said that for the past few years the assembly and its committees are facing non-cooperation of the officers in sharing information and meeting them in person. ”I believe such officers are getting active, illegal, and unconstitutional support and protection from the LG office.” The LG had in a letters on March 19, 2018, directed the officers that the questions on reserved subjects such as public order, land, and police, cannot be admitted in the Vidhan Sabha, he said.

”I had ruled on this matter in the Assembly on March 26, 2018 that such questions would be sent to the Privileges committee. Despite this, the officers continued to deny information and the matter is pending before the Privileges committee,” said the Assembly speaker.

Now, after the implementation of GNCTD (Amendment) Act, the LG office has directed the officers not to provide information to the Vidhan Sabha, he said. In simple words, the LG did not want the officers to attend the meetings of the cabinet or provide any information sought by them, he said.

Goel said that the assembly secretariat in a letter on February 21, had said that the speaker is the supreme functionary in terms of the assembly.

Source: Press Trust of India

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