Assembly wants to take over Soudha upkeep

PWD objects, says it is against rules framed under Constitution

Assembly wants to take over Soudha upkeep

The state Public Works Department has taken strong objection to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly’s move to take over maintenance of Vidhana Soudha and Vikasa Soudha and ownership of various prominent buildings, including the Suvarna Soudha in Belagavi.

The PWD has in a detailed letter to the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said rules framed under the Constitution of India do not allow the Assembly to perform the executive functions of the government. The department has also complained to the CMO that the Assembly is mounting pressure on it to hand over the responsibility of maintenance of these buildings to it immediately.

The Assembly secretariat had a few months ago sent a list of buildings to be handed over to it and described the maintenance being done by PWD as “against the independence and autonomy of legislature.” But the government had chosen not to react. PWD is currently maintaining almost all government buildings. But Vidhana Soudha, Vikasa Soudha and the Multi-storey Building are being maintained by the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms. The PWD further said the legislature secretariat does not come under the purview of the Karnataka Government (transaction of business) Rules, 1977 and Karnataka Government (allocation of business) Rules, 1977, framed as per Section 166 of the Constitution.
The cost of building maintenance is borne from the Consolidated Fund and the order to draw money is issued in the name of the governor, as mentioned in the rules.

The government is accountable and answerable to the legislature for all its actions. The legislature does not have any executive powers as per section 187(1) of the Constitution. Hence, the Assembly secretariat cannot accord administrative approval for taking up any project or issue any order for releasing money or call tenders, the PWD said.

“If the maintenance is handed over as requested by the Assembly, the Speaker (who is the head of the Assembly) will be answerable to the House in case of any lapse in tendering or substandard work by the contractor. The Assembly secretary also acts as secretary to the public accounts committee. The secretary will face embarrassment in case of any observation by the Comptroller and Auditor General on any project implemented by the Assembly,” added.
 

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