Delhi Vs L-G
Delhi vs L-G
● The recent amendments seek to promote “harmonious relations between the legislature and the executive”. The amendments also seek to define the responsibilities of the elected government and the Lieutenant Governor along with the constitutional scheme of governance of the NCT interpreted by the Supreme Court in recent judgements regarding the division of powers between the two entities.
● The MHA’s statement on “objects and reasons” of the Bill stated that Section 44 of the 1991 Act deals with the conduct of business and there is no structural mechanism for effective time-bound implementation of the said section.
Discuss the key features of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021, which gives primacy to the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) over the elected government in the city, has come into force.
● Delhi’s current status as a Union Territory with a Legislative Assembly is an outcome of the 69th Amendment Act through which Articles 239AA and 239BB were introduced in the Constitution.
● The GNCTD Act was passed simultaneously to supplement the constitutional provisions relating to the Assembly and the Council of Ministers in the national capital. For all practical purposes, the GNCTD Act outlines the powers of the Assembly, the discretionary powers enjoyed by the L-G, and the duties of the Chief Minister with respect to the need to furnish information to the L-G.
● Immense power to LG: It expands L-G’s powers by requiring the elected government to seek L-G’s opinion, on specific matters. It effectively reduces the elected government to a mere vestigial organ.
● Against the principle of federalism: The Constitution has mandated a federal balance wherein independence of a certain required degree is assured to the State Governments. It gives the real power to nominated LG rather than democratically elected state governments.
● Reduces Executive accountability: It weakens the powers of the assembly by prohibiting it from making rules for its committees on day-to-day administration. Inquiry into or investigation of the decisions of the executive is an integral part of the legislative oversight of the executive.
● Against supreme court 2018 judgement: These provisions contradict the 2018 judgment, which unambiguously clarifies that the council of ministers with the chief minister at its helm is the executive head of the government of Delhi.
Although GNCTD (Amendment) Act, 2021 seeks to promote “increase administrative efficiency”and harmonious relations between the legislature and the executive, it must uphold the constitutional values of participative democracy, cooperative federalism, and executive accountability to the legislature.