Cong may oppose bill to replace Centre’s ordinance on Delhi, after consulting like-minded parties

New Delhi: The Congress asked the Centre on Monday to honour the Supreme Court verdict on Delhi services and said a final call on supporting the legislation that seeks to replace the ordinance in Parliament would be taken after discussions with like-minded political parties.

Sources said the Congress may consider opposing a bill, when it is introduced in Parliament, seeking to replace a Union government ordinance on Delhi’s services matters, but noted that a final call would be taken after consultations with other parties.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is in power in Delhi, has been seeking the support of various political parties on the matter and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will have to seek the support of parties such as the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and YSRCP, which have nine MPs each in the Rajya Sabha, to get the legislation passed in the Upper House of Parliament in case the Opposition gets together on the issue.

While a united Opposition has 111 MPs in the Rajya Sabha, the ruling BJP and its allies have almost an equal number of MPs.

Senior Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said his party welcomed the Supreme Court decision when it came.

“Today too, we have the same view that the Supreme Court decision was right. The Constitution bench has given a detailed judgment on the Delhi issue and the government should honour that,” Sharma told reporters when asked about the ordinance.

The sources in the Congress, meanwhile, said the party may oppose the bill when the government brings it in Parliament to replace the ordinance.

Sharma said the government has brought an ordinance as well as sought a review of the Supreme Court’s May 11 judgment.

“It is very clear that the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court had come out with a very detailed judgment and also, its interpretation of the constitutional positions and the rights of states and elected governments. It was a larger question, it was not only limited to those parts of the judgment, not confined in my view only to Delhi, it was about India being a country,” he said.

The Congress leader said under the Constitution, the government has the authority to bring an ordinance, but in this instance, it has also decided to file a petition for a review of the top court verdict.

“Since this is a Constitution bench judgment, it is only a Constitution bench which will re-visit (the verdict). And we will await what the Constitution bench decides in this matter and we leave it at that,” he said.

Prodded further on whether the Congress will oppose the bill to replace the ordinance, Sharma said, “Let us cross the river when it comes.” “I would expect that the Congress leadership, the Congress president, who is also the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, and the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, along with the leaders of all other political parties, will discuss this matter as and when the session is convened, but we do hope that since it is the Constitution bench and the government has gone back there, the Supreme Court will come out with its view,” he added.

AAP national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been seeking the support of opposition parties, urging them to defeat the ordinance that sets up the National Capital Civil Services Authority and gives it the power to transfer bureaucrats in the city.