Amendment in the Government of NCT of Delhi Act

In the year 1991 the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act was introduced. The purpose of introducing the act was to provide the union territory status in the legislative assembly. Through the 69th Amendment in the Indian Constitution Article 239AA and Article 239BB were added. The act was also passed an amplifier to the constitutional provisions regarding the Assembly and the Council of Ministers in Delhi, the national capital. The act defined the power of the assembly along with that of the lieutenant governor and the duties of the chief minister to provide and furnish information to the Lieutenant Governor.

In 2018, due to the ongoing conflict between the CM and LG a case was filed before the Supreme Court NCT of Delhi v. Union of India. The five judge bench comprising of then CJI Dipak Misra, Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan in its judgement to put an end to the dispute between the Lt. Governor and the Delhi Government stated that LG’s agreement is not essential in issues other than that of Land, public order and police. However, adding to his they said that the decisions made by the council of ministers will have to be communicated to the LG.  The judges then added that the status of LG was not of the Governor of the UT but was of an administrator working with the designation of Lieutenant Governor.

After the decision it is said that the elected government had stopped sending files to the LG before implementing them.Government of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021 was presented in the Lok Sabha. The bill was passed by them on 22nd March, 2021 with 83 in favour and 45 against the bill with 0 abstentions. It was then passed in the Rajya Sabha on 24th March, 2021. Union Minister G. Kishan Reddy stated that the introduction of the amendment was  increase transparency in governance and clarity which would then result in public accountability he then added that the step was taken to remove ambiguity in the act and that there was no political angle but a technical one.

The main amendments introduced and passed were:

1. In section 21 the meaning of the word Government was edited. It said that government would mean the Lieutenant Governor in any law made by the legislative assembly.2. Section 3 of the bill extended the power of the LG via a change in section 24 of the Act which dealt with ‘Assent to Bills’.3. A change in section 44 of the Act was asked for under section 5 of the bill. Section 44 dealt with conduct of the business and the bill stated that it was compulsory for the government to take LG’s opinion on day to day affairs regarding all the matters before taking an executive action.

The bill was given an assent by the president Mr. Ram Nath Kovind on 28th March, 2021 (Sunday) thereby increasing the powers of the LG and limiting the powers of the Delhi Government.

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