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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 16 March, 2021

  • 12 Min Read

National Capital Territory of Delhi Bill, 2021

National Capital Territory of Delhi Bill, 2021

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) moved a Bill in the Lok Sabha on Monday in which it proposed that the “government” in the National Capital Territory of Delhi meant the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi.
  • The Bill proposes to amend Sections 21, 24, 33 and 44 of the 1991 Act.
  • The Bill gives discretionary powers to the L-G even in matters where the Legislative Assembly of Delhi is empowered to make laws.
  • The proposed legislation also seeks to ensure that the L-G is “necessarily granted an opportunity” to give her or his opinion before any decision taken by the Council of Ministers (or the Delhi Cabinet) is implemented.
  • Section 44 of the 1991 Act says that all executive actions of the L-G, whether taken on the advice of his Ministers or otherwise, shall be expressed to be taken in the name of the L-G.
  • The MHA’s statement on “objects and reasons” of the Bill stated that Section 44 of the 1991 Act deals with conduct of business and there is no structural mechanism for effective time-bound implementation of the said section. “Further, there is no clarity as to what proposal or matters are required to be submitted to Lieutenant-Governor before issuing order thereon,” the statement said.

What is there in Constitution of India?

  • Delhi is a Union Territory with a legislature and it came into being in 1991 under Article 239AA of the Constitution inserted by the Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991.
  • As per the existing Act, the Legislative Assembly has the power to make laws in all matters except public order, police and land.
  • Three decades after it was enacted, significant amendments have been proposed to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991, bringing contradictions between the Central and Delhi governments to the fore once again.
  • The Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government has on many occasions challenged the BJP-ruled Centre regarding administrative matters in the National Capital.

Analysis of NCT (Amendment) Bill, 2021

  • While some were of the opinion that the new Bill will seek to render the office of the Chief Minister a vestigial organ in the name of simplifying administration, others argued that the amendments will iron out “needless” issues arising out of politics in a city where the Lieutenant-Governor had “always been the government”.
  • Senior advocate at the Supreme Court Rebecca John said the Bill would snatch away from the residents of Delhi the accountability and answerability they sought from the elected representatives and hand them to a nominated official.
  • Professor Pradip Kumar Datta, an independent academic formerly associated with JNU, said the Bill seemed to go against the federal principles and was a setback for popular representation. “Centralisation has been increasing in both formal and informal ways after this government came to power at the Centre. This [Bill] will seemingly just speed up the pace of centralisation of power,” he said.
  • S.K. Sharma, a constitutional expert said the two governments — the Centre and the Delhi government — were not concurrent. The first one is the actual government while the other falls under the definition of what B.R. Ambedkar called local administration.

Source: TH


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