The tussle between the Centre and the States is never ending. Each party wants
as many items as possible under its control. There has been transfer of subjects
from state to the concurrent list, centre list remaining almost unchanged. This
has been the nature of every party that gets the majority in the Lok Sabha
election. The party at the centre tries to get hold of maximum control over the
states and aims to assert its dominance. On the similar lines on Monday, the BJP
dominant Lok Sabha passed the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi
(Amendment) Bill, 2021 reigniting the issue of distribution of power between the
President nominated Lieutenant Governor(L-G) and the democratically elected
government in Union Territory of Delhi.
The bill seeks to amend the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi
The GNCTD Amendment Bill put forth majorly four amendments:
- Amendment to Section 21 of the parent act - The expression "Government"
referred to in any law to be made by the Legislative Assembly shall mean the
- Amendment to Section 24 – clause (d) added: incidentally covers any of
the matters which falls outside the purview of the powers conferred on the
- Amendment to Section 33 – prohibits the legislative assembly to make any
rule to enable either itself or its committees to consider the matters of
the day-to-day administration of the Capital or conduct inquiries in
relation to the administrative decisions. Additionally, this amendment has
been given a retrospective effect
- Amendment to Section 44 – an opinion of L-G has to be sought on all
matters before taking any executive action
The bill is an attempt to reduce the power of the democratically elected
government whereas increasing the power of a nominated post i.e. L-G.
The issue had also been raised earlier before a Constitution bench in 2018 where
the apex court held that L-G’s concurrence is not required on issues other than
police, public order and land. Taking the shed of the Supreme Court verdict the
elected government stopped sending files on executive matters to L-G before
implementation of any decision and kept the L-G abreast of all administrative
developments. But this is going to change with the passage of the bill which
requires the opinion of L-G on all executive matters.
The bill raises certain apprehensions and ambiguities which would further create
a rift between the President appointed L-G and elected government. The AAP
government was in constant clash with the L-G prior to the Supreme Court’s
verdict and fears that if the bill is passed and the amendments are made in the
GNCTD act 1991 it would hamper the autonomy of the elected government which is
The bill has given more power to the L-G by conferring upon
him power in matters outside the purview of the Legislative assembly to not give
assent to the bills and send them for President’s consideration. Also the bill
prohibits the assembly to make laws on administrative matters or conduct
inquires about administrative decisions.
These all provisions have the power to reduce the elected government ineffective
and powerless. The condition of a democratically elected government will be
similar to the condition of rulers under the British rule where the Rulers had
become a puppet to the hands of the Raj.