Here’s How the NCT Bill 2021 Infringes on Rights of Delhi Citizens

Amendments to the bill now force the Delhi government to run things by the LG before implementing any decision.

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At a time in India when a human rights watchdog has downgraded our country to being only “partly free”, the recent amendments to the National Capital Territory of Delhi Act or NCT may just rub more salt in our wounds at being a called “electoral autocracy”.

The NCT Bill, 2021, introduced in the Lok Sabha last week and passed by the Rajya Sabha today, unilaterally gives discretionary powers to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi on everyday actions and dilutes the powers of the elected Delhi government.

The amendment will now force the Delhi government to take the advice of the L-G before implementing any Cabinet decision on matters that are within its jurisdiction.

However, the NCT Bill does more than just give powers to the L-G. It also completely upends a 2018 Supreme Court judgment, which addressed this very power tussle between the Union of India and the Delhi government.

Soon after the passage of the amendment bill in the Rajya Sabha, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted saying that it was a "sad day" for democracy and said that his struggle to restore power back to the people would continue.

So in today’s episode, we will go through what exactly led to the tussle between the two sides, what the Supreme Court 2018 judgment was and what the new amendments state.

To discuss all this, I spoke with Indira Jaising, a noted human rights lawyer and a senior advocate at the Supreme Court of India. She was also part of the legal team of the Delhi government in the Supreme Court in 2018.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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