The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021

 The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 

Introduction

The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was introduced in Lok Sabha on March 15, 2021.  The Bill amends the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991.  The Act provides a framework for the functioning of the Legislative Assembly and the government of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi.  The Bill amends certain powers and responsibilities of the Legislative Assembly and the Lieutenant Governor.

Background

Delhi had an interim government from 1952 to 1956. State reorganization Act, 1956 abolished the CM’s office from NCT of Delhi. It remained abolished till 1993. 

Balakrishnan Report (1987)

This report discussed about the topic where Delhi should be given statehood. It stated that while Delhi belongs to the whole people, it has its own people too. However, it was concluded that conferring statehood to Delhi may be a slippery slope. 

69th Constitutional (Amendment) Act, 1991

This amendment gave special status to Delhi. It was this law that gave Delhi its own legislative assembly. This meant that the government of Delhi was given power to make its own laws over the contents of State list and Concurrent list. However, the 3 powers of Police, Land, and Public Order were retained. This act also stated that there shall be a Council of Ministers (not more than 10 % of the Legislative Assembly) to aid and advice the Lieutenant Governor. Anil Baijal is the present Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.

 Shuffle between Lieutenant Governor and Delhi Government

The Kejriwal government had passed 14 bills after coming to power. However, all these bills were rejected by the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. This event gave rise to a cold war between the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and the Delhi Government. 

At the end, the case was taken to the high court. The Delhi High Court in 2016 stated that complete control for all matters related to Delhi is with The Lieutenant Governor. The matters went to the Supreme Court of India. In 2018, a constitutional bench of Supreme Court came up with the decision. It held that if centre is given excessive power, cooperative federalism will fail. The Supreme Court of India favored Delhi government and said that if the Lieutenant Governor does not reserve the matters to the president, the Delhi Government could go ahead with the decision. The Supreme Court also concluded with the statement that the role of a Lieutenant Governor is that of a facilitator. 

The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021

This act aimed to clarify the duties of a Lieutenant governor. The Act allows the Legislative Assembly to make Rules to regulate the procedure and conduct of business in the Assembly.  The Bill provides that such Rules must be consistent with the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha. The Bill also prohibits the Legislative Assembly from making any rule to enable itself or its Committees to: (i) consider the matters of day-to-day administration of the NCT of Delhi and (ii) conduct any inquiry in relation to administrative decisions.   Further, the Bill provides that all such rules made before its enactment will be void.



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