LAW Courses
LAW Courses

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on LinkedIn

Share on Email

Share More


KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The GNCTD Amendment Bill, 2021, has been passed in both Houses of Parliament.
  • The Lok Sabha passed the bill on the 22nd of March, and the Rajya Sabha passed such bill on Wednesday, the 24th.
  • The lower House conducted a voice vote after a walk-out by the opposition.
  • The motion received 83 ‘Ayes’ for the motion and 45 ‘Nos’ against the motion.
  • “Sad day for Indian democracy” commented AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal.
  • The newly amended bill aimed to dissolve the ambiguity of the term Government in the Act.
  • It makes the Lieutenant Governor the Government.


INTRODUCTION

The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday, the 22nd of March. Such bill aims to amend so that the ‘Lieutenant Governor’ is the Government of the national capital. Such bill was also passed by the upper House of the Parliament on Wednesday, the 24th of March.

The leader of the Aam Admi Party (AAP), the current ruling party in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal commented on the passing of the bill in his tweet, “"Rajya Sabha 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."

BACKGROUND

The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021, abbreviated as GNCTD Amendment Bill, is amended from the parent bill, which is, GNCTD Act, 1991, according to whose provisions, Delhi was made into a Union Territory and "limited legislative powers" was conferred on it.

The newly amended bill aimed to dissolve the ambiguity of the term Government in the Act, and it was clarified that the Lieutenant Governor is the Government and that his approval and counsel is a requisite for arriving at or implementing any executive action.
Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy commented in this regard that, "We have not snatched any power from the Delhi government nor we have given any additional power to the L-G,” while stating that the Lieutenant Governor has, being an administrator has always had the right to be reported about the day-to-day affairs conducted by the Government. He said that the amendments brought about in the bill seek to promote harmonious relationship between the legislature and the executive.

Such bill negates the claim of the AAP leader to announce the National Capital Territory of Delhi to be declared a State and its status alleviated from that of a Union Territory. It received a walk-out opposition from the members of the Congress and AAP.


CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH SUCH AMENDMENT BILL WAS PASSED

As many as 12 political parties opposed to the passing of such amendment bill and posed a united front in such opposition. A voice vote was conducted by the Upper House after a walk-out by the opposition, after having received 83 ‘Ayes’ for the motion and 45 ‘Nos’ against the motion. No abstentions were recorded regarding the same. It was Harivansh Narayan Sigh, the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha who declared the bill to have been passed by the voice vote.

GROUNDS OF OPPOSITION

The amendment bill was met with a whooping opposition from as many as 12 political parties who not only protested against the bill by taking to the streets and sloganeering, but also caused two brief adjournments of the house and walking out.

They opined that due to the special status of the National Capital Territory of Delhi as has been conferred by Article 239AA of the Constitution (Special provisions with respect to Delhi), any change pertaining to the Government of the Union Territory should be brought by Constitutional amendments and not by any single amendment bill passed in the normal course.

The amendments brought about in the Bill is alleged to be an attempt to evade the interpretation made by a Constitution Bench of the apex Court in the landmark case, Delhi v. LG, in which it was held by the Court that the Lieutenant Governor, being an administrative head in the "limited sense”, is "bound by the aid and advise" of the Council of Ministers of Delhi Government. Such aid and assistance need not be sought in matters of land, police and public order where such Lieutenant Governor can act on his own discretion. This bill attempts to make the Lieutenant Governor as the Government, due to which all the executive decisions to be taken by the Chief Minister has to be on the aid and counsel of the Lieutenant Governor, thereby overturning the interpretation of the Supreme Court.


COMMENTS

Politicians belonging to the Aam Admi Party and Congress has openly criticised such amendment bill as was passed in the Upper House on Wednesday.

Manish Sisodia, the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi in a tweet in Hindi, said "Today is a dark day for democracy. The rights of the government elected by the people of Delhi have been taken away and handed over to LG. Look at the irony, the Parliament was used to assassinate democracy which is called the temple of our democracy. People of Delhi will fight against this dictatorship. #BJPFearsKejriwal."

Member of Parliament (MP) Sanjay Singh, belonging to the Aam Admi Party, opposed the bill in his comment, "I seek justice for the 2 crore people of Delhi, for 130 crore Indians, to seek justice from all members to save Constitution. I am telling all members - we'll be here only if Constitution is there."

In the words of Raghav Chadha, the national spokesperson of the Aam Admi Party, opined in his tweet, “The NCT of Delhi [Amendment] Bill, 2021, is an unconstitutional attempt to make Delhi Government ‘administratively impotent’ by a political party that has been made ‘electorally impotent’ by people of Delhi.”

CONCLUSION

The GNCTD Amendment Bill, 2021 seeks to amend its principal Act, the National Capital Territory of Delhi Act which was enacted in the year 1991.

The proviso to Section 33 of the principal Act has been amended as "Provided that the Legislative Assembly shall not make any rule to enable 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, and any of the rule made in contravention of this proviso, before the commencement of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021 shall be void.”

The following proviso has been inserted in Section 44 of the principal Act vide the amendment: "Provided that 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, as the case may be, under any law in force in the Capital, 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."

Such amendments made the oppositions to protest by forcing the House to have been briefly adjourned twice.


"Loved reading this piece by Chandrani Mitra?
Join LAWyersClubIndia's network for daily News Updates, Judgment Summaries, Articles, Forum Threads, Online Law Courses, and MUCH MORE!!"






Tags :


Category Others, Other Articles by - Chandrani Mitra 



Comments


update
Post a Suggestion for LCI Team
Post a Legal Query