By Akshay Chooramani
Citizen Charter: Promise no. 1 (under the heading Delhi Janlokpal Bill) in the manifesto of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) released before the elections in 2015 states “A Citizens’ Charter shall be introduced in all government offices in Delhi.”
To put this promise into effect, AAP government passed the “Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery of Services Bill, 2015” in Delhi Assembly in November 2015 which sought to amendment Delhi (Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery of Services) Act, 2011. The bill provided for time-bound delivery of services by the government departments to its citizens. It stipulates clear time-frame for delivery of services, incentivises citizens to file their grievances in cases of non-delivery and penalises erring officials. The bill has a provision of compensating the citizens in cases of their services not delivered within the time-bound (Section 3). The bill has a provision to penalize the erring officer for not delivery of service within the stipulated time (Section 7). The bill also has a provision of reward and incentives for exemplary service to citizen (Section 12A).
However, the bill was returned back to the Delhi Assembly by the President on 30th January 2017 seeking clarification with regards to the definition of the term ‘Government’. In the parent act of 2011, the expression ‘Government’ means “the Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi appointed by the President under Article 239 and designated as such under Article 239 AA of the Constitution”, however, through the 2015 bill this clause was amended by saying that “Government ” means the National Capital Territory of Delhi. Subsequently, a new clause f(i) under subsection 2 was inserted defining the role of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. It says: “The expression ‘Lieutenant Governor’ means the Administrator appointed under Article 239 by the President and designated as such under Article 239AA of the Constitution,”.
The bill was reintroduced in the Delhi Assembly on 10th August, 2017 as The Delhi (Right Of Citizen to time bound delivery of services) Amendment Bill, 2017 and passed on 11th August, 2017 wherein the definition of the term ‘Government’ was brought in consonance of the parent act of 2011. However, even after two years, the President / Lt. Governor is yet to give assent to the bill.