New Delhi, India (TEH) – In an unprecedented turn of events, the Delhi National Capital Territory Governance Amendment Bill 2023 was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Monday night, amid allegations of forgery and misconduct. The bill, which had already been passed in the Lok Sabha last week, was approved by 131 votes against 102, with the government receiving more support than anticipated and the opposition less, reports Live Mint.
The passage or non-passage of bills has been a standard part of parliamentary history in India. The government has various means to ensure the passage of bills, including calling a joint session in the absence of a majority in the Rajya Sabha. However, the incident witnessed on Monday night was unlike any other in the history of the Rajya Sabha.
Aam Aadmi Party member Raghav Chadha moved a motion proposing that after the Delhi National Capital Amendment Bill is passed, it should be sent to a select committee. Controversially, five members, including members of BJP, BJD, and AIDMK, denied giving their consent and accused Chadha of forgery. They have since demanded an investigation by the Committee of Privileges.
Such an accusation of forgery had never before tainted the parliamentary process. The situation escalated around midnight when BJD’s Sasmit Patra and AIDMK’s Thambi Durai complained to Deputy Speaker Harivansh Narayan Singh. Home Minister Amit Shah, present in the House, also requested an investigation, labeling it a case of fraud.
The numerical strength in Parliament typically decides the fate of parties. If parties begin to manipulate their status through fraudulent signatures, it could fundamentally alter the definition of democracy. The bench, responsible for sending a passed bill to the Select Committee, usually makes decisions based on the advice of the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and the concerned Minister, sometimes considering the advice of the Leader of the Opposition.
Every member has the right to propose sending a bill to the select committee, but without the consent of the members, even the bench cannot nominate a member of the committee. If proven to be misconduct, Raghav Chadha could face serious consequences. The Rajya Sabha may also take action against politicians to set an example, ensuring that no one can play with the dignity of Parliament through such misconduct.
The allegations have cast a shadow over the Delhi Government, which has previously been accused of fostering a culture of fraud. Now, it seems that this culture may have infiltrated Parliament itself, marking an unfortunate chapter in India’s democratic process.