Govt in Delhi Means L-G, Says Bill Introduced by Centre in LS

The bill gives discretionary powers to the L-G even in matters where the Delhi Assembly is empowered to make laws.

3 min read
The Legislative Assembly of Delhi.

The Centre on Monday, 15 March, moved a bill in the Lok Sabha wherein it proposed that the government in the national capital territory of Delhi means the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, reported news agency IANS.

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 Lieutenant Governor is necessarily granted an opportunity to give their opinion before any decision taken by the Council of Ministers or the Delhi Cabinet is implemented.

The Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government has on many occasions challenged the NDA-ruled central government regarding administrative matters in the capital. The bill proposes to amend Sections 21, 24, 33, and 44 of the 1991 Act.


What Does the Bill Say?

GOVERNMENT MEANS L-G: The first amendment is in Section 21 of the 1991 Act, which says that the word "government" in any law passed by the Legislative Assembly would mean the “Lieutenant Governor".

PRESIDENT’S ASSENT: Under Section 24, this amendment proposes that the Lieutenant Governor shall not provide his assent or refer to the President a bill that is passed by the Legislative Assembly on a matter that is outside its purview.

RULES OF PROCEDURE: Under Section 33, the amendment seeks to add that rules made by the Legislative Assembly for regulating its own procedure and conduct of business shall have to be in sync with those in the “House of the People” or the Lok Sabha.

The amendment also proposes that the opinion of the Lieutenant Governor has to be taken before the implementation of any executive decision taken by the Council of Ministers. 

Moreover, the amendment says that the Legislative Assembly shall not make any rule to allow itself or its committees to “consider the matters of day-to-day administration of the Capital or conduct inquiries in relation to the administrative decisions.”

Why Have an Elected Government? Asks Sisodia

Reacting to the bill, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia accused the Centre of an attempt to run the Delhi government through the backdoor, giving more power to the Lieutenant Governor.

“This amendment by the BJP is an attempt by the Centre to govern Delhi by the back door. There should be a legislative assembly for the National Capital Territory of Delhi. This Assembly should have the power to make laws for the whole and any part of the subjects list that matters in Delhi.” 
Manish Sidodia, Deputy CM, Delhi

"After this amendment, Delhi government will be dependent on L-G office on every single file to get necessary approval from it before implementing. What is the meaning of having an elected government and the Council of Ministers when it has no power?” Sisodia added.

Undemocratic Move by BJP: Kejriwal

Earlier on Monday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had opposed the move in a tweet. “We strongly condemn BJP's unconstitutional n anti-democracy move (sic)," Kejriwal had written on Twitter.

AAP MLA Raghav Chadha called the bill “an unholy attempt to curtail powers of democratically elected Govt with highest mandate in India's electoral history.”

The Centre's move may lead to another face-off between the elected government and the L-G's office as both have long been at loggerheads over administrative issues.

(With inputs from IANS.)

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