Speaker, ministers wear black bands in Delhi Assembly

Speaker, ministers wear black bands in Delhi Assembly
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New Delhi: Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel, AAP MLAs and ministers wore black bands in the House on Wednesday to protest against Lt. Governor Anil Baijal’s contention that the Speaker cannot accept questions on reserved subjects.

On Monday, Goel cited a letter from Baijal that said the Speaker cannot accept any question on reserved subjects, where reserved subjects are land, law and services, among others.

“The officers should realise that legislation on reserved subjects and seeking replies on matters of public interest are two different issues,” the Speaker had said, adding that officers were duty bound to provide replies to all questions admitted by the House.

The Lt. Governor’s letter to the Law Department of Delhi government stated that he had consulted the Legal Affairs Department of the Central government, which said the Speaker cannot allow such reserved subject questions.

On Wednesday, initially it was the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs and ministers who came to the House wearing black bands.

During the 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 the officials.

Goel also said that written answers to 17 out of 40 questions were not provided by the officials.

As the House became agitated over the issue, the Speaker referred the question to the Question and Reference Committee of the assembly.

Later, he said that he would also tie a black band as a mark of protest against the Lt. Governor’s decision, and subsequently did so.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa said the BJP MLAs were also of the opinion that all questions should be answered, but the Speaker should not wear a black band and added that he was breaking a tradition by doing so.

IANS