Updated: October 26, 2019 10:47:21 am
Four days before the rollout of the free travel for women in buses scheme on October 29, the Delhi Law Department has written to Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot, pointing out the “need” for the Lt-Governor’s “prior sanction” before issuing a notification amending the relevant regulations.
The Indian Express has learnt that Principal Secretary (Law) Sanjay Kumar Agarwal sent a note to Gahlot Thursday, explaining the legal position that governs the proposed amendments to the DTC (Free & Concessional Passes) Regulations, 1985.
Gahlot, however, told The Indian Express that the relevant files will not be sent to the L-G as “it does not fall under the area of reserved subjects like police, public order and land”.
Sources said Agarwal has cited provisions of the Road Transport Corporation Act, 1950, in making his point. According to Section 45 of the Act, which deals with the power of the corporation to make regulations, “A Corporation may, with the previous sanction of the State Government and by notification in the Official Gazette, make regulations, not inconsistent with this Act and the rules made thereunder for administration of the affairs of the Corporation”.
“The Road Transport Corporation Act is very clear. But it does not have a definition of the state government. The law itself says that for the meaning of the state government, one should refer to the Motor Vehicles Act. According to that, the state government is the administrator, which is the L-G in Delhi’s case,” said official sources.
When contacted, Agarwal said, “I have taken an oath of office and secrecy at the time of joining public service… Obviously, I cannot spill the beans regarding any matter pending consideration before the Hon’ble minister or the Cabinet or any other higher authority at this stage or at later stage unless otherwise compelling circumstances are conceived.”
Gahlot said: “The Principal Secretary (Law) has been sending every file with the opinion that it has to be sent to the L-G. We will go by the judgment of the Supreme Court Constitution Bench, which is clear about the allocation of powers between the elected government and the L-G.”
The Delhi Cabinet had accorded in-principle approval to the free rides scheme for women in August. The Cabinet had then directed the DTC to propose suitable amendments to the 1985 regulations for a notification in the official gazette. The notification has to be issued by the Transport Department.
Earlier, the Finance Department, in a note, had recommended that the scheme should cover women from EWS/BPL/AAY background so that only “deserving female passengers” avail its benefits. However, Gahlot had responded saying the entire crux of the scheme will be “diluted” if it is restricted to specific categories.
The government had set aside Rs 140 crore in the current fiscal for implementing the scheme. The DTC will get a reimbursement of Rs 10 for every ride undertaken under the scheme.
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