GNCT Act, which gives more powers to Delhi L-G, comes into force from April 27
Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal is now the ‘government’ in the National Capital as the Centre notified the amended Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021 on Tuesday.
A gazette notification issued on Tuesday says the act comes into force from April 27, which means that day-to-day decisions taken by the Arvind Kejriwal Cabinet in the Union Territory will have to have opinion of the L-G.
The act, passed by the Parliament last month, gives overarching powers to the Delhi L-G in day-to-day functioning of the Union Territory; a move criticised by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders and other Opposition parties saying this obstructs the functioning of an elected government.
On the other hand, the Centre has claimed that the act promotes “harmonious relations between the legislature and the executive, and further defines the responsibilities of the elected government and the Lieutenant Governor, in line with the constitutional scheme of governance of Delhi, as interpreted by the Supreme Court.”
According to the controversial act, the “government” in Delhi would mean L-G in the context of all legislations to be passed by the state assembly. This, according to the Centre, is in consistency with the status of Delhi as a Union Territory to address the ambiguities in the interpretation of the legislative provisions.
The bill makes it mandatory for the Delhi government to take the opinion of the L-G before taking any executive action in the city.
It also bars Delhi government from making 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. Any rule made till this act comes into effect will be void, according to the bill.
According to the act, the Delhi assembly won’t be able to make rules for regulating its procedure and the conduct of its business which are inconsistent with the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Parliament of India.
The Supreme Court had, on July 4, 2018, ruled that the L-G cannot interfere in every decision of the Delhi government and that he must act on aid and advice of the council of ministers.
The Centre has however said the new act seeks to clarify the expression of government in order to give effect to the interpretation made by the Supreme Court.
“The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 (1of 1992) was enacted to supplement the provisions of the Constitution relating to the Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers for the National Capital Territory of Delhi and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. Section 44 of the Act deals with conduct of business and there is no structural mechanism provided in the act for effective time bound implementation of said section. Further, there is no clarity as to what proposal or matters are required to be submitted to Lieutenant Governor before issuing order thereon,” the statement of objects and reasons stated.