On Wednesday the Rajya Sabha passed the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
The bill that had already been approved by Lok Sabha on 22nd March, Monday was already being fought against by the Delhi government and opposition.
Apparently, as per reports the passing of this bill makes it clear that when “government” in Delhi is referred to it means the “Lieutenant Governor (L-G)”. The amendment to the bill also states that the Delhi government which is led by Aam Aadmi Party will have to run any actions first by the L-G before actually making any policy decision.
The passing of this bill, however, saw many members of the opposition walking out of the Rajya Sabha. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and a few other MPs and politicians had been actively against this bill and what it was trying to change.
A few even started to raise anti-government slogans protesting against the passing of the bill, due to which Rajya Sabha had to adjourn its sessions early.
Rajya Sabha was forced into adjournment on Wednesday after opposition members raised anti-government slogans to protest the bill’s passing.
Kejriwal posted about this on his Twitter, calling it a ‘sad day for Indian democracy.’
RS passes GNCTD amendment Bill. Sad day for Indian democracy
We will continue our struggle to restore power back to people.
Whatever be the obstacles, we will continue doing good work. Work will neither stop nor slow down.
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) March 24, 2021
But what exactly is this bill, and why is there so much noise over it?
What Is The GNCTD (Amendment) Bill?
As per reports, the Centre in the “statement of objects and reasons” section of the bill states that this amendment will “further defines” responsibilities of both the Lt Governor and the elected government of the city that will be according to the Indian Constitution.
The amendment is also supposed to install the interpretation of the bill as per the Supreme Court.
Here are some of the things that the amendment states:
- The term “government” shall mean the L-G in any law that is installed by the Legislative Assembly.
- The Delhi elected government will also have to get the L-G’s opinion before they take any executive action that has been discussed by individual ministers or the Cabinet.
- This comes as per Section 44 where “before taking any executive action in pursuance of the decision of the Council of Ministers or a Minister, to exercise powers of Government, State Government, Appropriate Government, Lieutenant Governor, Administrator or Chief Commissioner…the opinion of Lieutenant Governor in term of proviso to clause (4) of article 239AA of the Constitution shall be obtained on all such matters as may be specified, by a general or special order, by Lieutenant Governor.”
- As per a tweet by Kejriwal this also means that all files will be sent to the L-G which as per him “is against 4.7.18 Constitution Bench judgement which said that files will not be sent to LG, the elected govt will take all decisions and send a copy of decision to LG.”
- The Bill also claims to give the L-G the power that has been given to them under the proviso to clause (4) of Article 239AA of the Constitution.
- With this bill, the powers of the L-G are enhanced more when compared to the elected government of the national capital.
- The amendment to the bill also outlines several things like the powers of the Assembly, duties of the CM in relation to what information needs to be shared with the L-G, and the discretionary powers of the L-G.
- The elected government in light of the SC verdict although would keep the L-G informed of administrative developments, however, not necessarily before they implemented or acted out a decision.
- This new development, however, would make it compulsory for the elected government to share and take opinion from the L-G before enacting out any cabinet decision.
There are debates ongoing around how constitutional this bill really is and what impact it will have on the running of the Delhi government. It has created a big roadblock in the kind of power that AAP can have over the city.
It has also been said that the bill kind of defeats the public choice, that is the representatives chosen by the citizens of Delhi and instilling more power than necessary to the L-G.
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