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Government of National Capital Territory (GNCT) of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021

Government of National Capital Territory (GNCT) Of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021:

The Government of National Capital Territory (GNCT) of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021, which gives primacy to the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) over the elected government in the city, has come into force.

Provisions of the GNCT of Delhi (Amendment) Act 2021:

  • It amended the Sections 21, 24, 33 and 44 of the 1991 Act.
  • States that the “government” in the National Capital Territory of Delhi meant the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi.
  • It gives discretionary powers to the L-G even in matters where the Legislative Assembly of Delhi is empowered to make laws.
  • It seeks to ensure that the L-G is “necessarily granted an opportunity” to give her or his opinion before any decision taken by the Council of Ministers (or the Delhi Cabinet) is implemented.
  • It bars the Assembly or its committees from making rules to take up matters concerning day-to-day administration, or to conduct inquiries in relation to administrative decisions.
  • The latest amendment will greatly reduce the efficiency and timeliness of the Delhi government by making it imperative for it to hold consultations with the L-G even when a situation demands urgent action.
  • Significantly, the L-G is not obliged to give his opinion to the State government within a time frame. Critics argue that the L-G could politically exploit these unbridled powers to hamper the government’s administrative work and thus turn the political tides against the incumbent if he so desires.
  • It is against the spirit of ‘Federalism.”

Union Government’s Stand:

  • It is in keeping with the Supreme Court’s July 2018 ruling on the ambit of powers of the L-G and the Delhi government following several headliner controversies between the two.
  • The purported fair objectives of the Act, include enhancing public accountability and easing out technical ambiguities related to everyday administration.
  • This will increase the administrative efficiency of Delhi and will ensure a better relationship between the executive and the legislator.