Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the (GNCTD bill) Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which gives more power to the Lieutenant Governor in Delhi. The GNCTD bill was passed amid huge uproar and strong protests by the opposition leaders, including Congress, AAP, Trinamool Congress, and Samajwadi Party.

Calling it a ‘sad day for Indian democracy, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that his government will continue doing work. He said the work will neither stop nor slow down. The legislation was passed in Rajya Sabha by a voice vote on Wednesday. During voting, 83 members were in favor while 45 opposed the bill. Just before the passage of the bill, Congress too walked out.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal tweeted after the passage of the bill,”RS passes GNCTD amendment Bill. Sad day for Indian democracy .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.”

 

What is GNCTD Bill?

The bill, which was passed in Lok Sabha on Monday, seeks to make it clear that the “government” in Delhi means the “Lieutenant Governor”. The bill also makes it mandatory for the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government to take the opinion of the L-G before any executive action.

The Bill seeks to amend the GNCT of Delhi Act, 1991, legislation that provides a framework for the functioning of the Delhi Legislative Assembly and re-defining Delhi Government as the Lieutenant Governor (LG).

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GNCTD Bill which Gives more power to Lieutenant Governor in Delhi, says, “The expression “Government” referred to in any law to be made by the Legislative Assembly shall mean the Lieutenant Governor.” The other amendment is in Section 44.

 


Amending section 44 of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act-1991, the Bill says 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…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.”

Opposing the bill, AAP MP Sanjay Singh said the BJP government at the Centre has brought the bill as the party had lost the Delhi assembly elections twice.

What is the Centre’s reason GNCTD Bill Gives more power to Lieutenant Governor in Delhi? 

According to Centre, Section 44 of the Act deals with the conduct of business and there is no structural mechanism provided in the Act for effective time-bound implementation of said section. Further, the Bill adds, there is no clarity as to what proposal or matters are required to be submitted to Lieutenant Governor before issuing order thereon.

The Bill also talks about judgments by Supreme Court and says that the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, in its judgment dated the 4 July 2018 and Division Bench of the Supreme Court, in its judgment dated the 14 February 2019, has interpreted the provisions of Article 239AA of the Constitution relating to the structure of governance in National Capital Territory of Delhi.

The Bill further seeks to ensure that the L-G is necessarily granted an opportunity to exercise the power entrusted to him under proviso to clause (4) of Article 239AA of the Constitution, in a select category of cases and also to make rules in matters which incidentally encroach upon matters falling outside the preview of the Legislative Assembly. It also seeks to provide for rules made by the Legislative Assembly of Delhi to be consistent with the rules of the House of the People.

Why is the Delhi government protesting for GNCTD Bill?

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet, says that the Bill states ‘Government’ will mean ‘Lieutenant Governor’ and now all files will have to be sent to the L-G. “The (GNCTD) Bill says

 

1. For Delhi, “Govt” will mean LG – Then what will the elected govt do?

2. All files will go to LG – This is against 4.7.18 Constitution Bench judgment which said that files will not be sent to LG, the elected govt will take all decisions and send a copy of the decision to LG,” the chief minister writes.

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