In yet another historic development, the Lok Sabha on Monday, 22 March 2021 passed the NCT amendment bill which entails that the term “government” referred to in any law made by the legislative assembly will imply Lieutenant Governor. The bill seeks to amend the National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991. However On Tuesday, 23 March the Rajya Sabha was adjourned following a ruckus made by the Opposition as the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was introduced in the House.
Despite some obvious sentiments as echoed by opposition parties and mainly Aam Admi party and its chief Arvind Kejriwal we are of the opinion that the amendment bill is in the right direction and will make the NCR more safer as it will come under greater control and hence scrutiny of the central government. The reasons are mainly security concerns and at a time when people ( read lobbyists) from national , international borders can come up to Red fort to hoist flags and jam roads to important state crossings it is essential that the central government gets full control of the capitol even if that marginalises the elected state govt. Arvind Kejriwal and his party have not won the elections for life long. Similarly BJP and Modi will not rly the central govt always. There will be changes both at the state and central level. Therefore one should not see this step from a myopic lens and must regard it in the interest of nation from along term perspective. Any political party can come to the central and hence will responsible to keep the capitol safe and will be responsible to maintain law and order through the Lieutenant General ( LG) office.
IN any case there is ample of powers and scope for the elected govt to do and implement its policies in education, health etc. The path adopted by Arvind Kejriwal has shown dangerous divergences from that of central government and therefore it was necessary to do the neeul. When the elected Chief Minister of Delhi goes to rouse trouble and meets farmers protests it is full of risks. When the MLAs and corporators of elected govt of Delhi side with minorities and provokes and prepares them to use violence and disturb peace in the capitol it becomes unprecedented state of affairs that cannot be ignored by any central govt.
WE would go a step further and request the central government to think about other important metros namely Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai and take steps to bring them also under central govts ambit. The recent disclosures coming from Mumbai points to the immense credibility shortage of the Police under state govt.Besides the drugs, crime, anti national activities happening from the metro not only in Mumbai but also in other two metros demonstrate the need of the same.
WE congratulate the central govt for bringing the NCT amendment bill and would request CM to think national interest before self interests.
Summary of the bill and key take awys:
- The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was introduced in Lok Sabha on March 15, 2021. The Bill amends the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991. The Act provides a framework for the functioning of the Legislative Assembly and the government of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi. The Bill amends certain powers and responsibilities of the Legislative Assembly and the Lieutenant Governor.
- Restriction on laws passed by the Assembly: The Bill provides that the term “government” referred to in any law made by the Legislative Assembly will imply Lieutenant Governor (LG).
- Rules of Procedure of the Assembly: The Act allows the Legislative Assembly to make Rules to regulate the procedure and conduct of business in the Assembly. The Bill provides that such Rules must be consistent with the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha.
- Inquiry by the Assembly into administrative decisions: The Bill prohibits the Legislative Assembly from making any rule to enable itself or its Committees to: (i) consider the matters of day-to-day administration of the NCT of Delhi and (ii) conduct any inquiry in relation to administrative decisions. Further, the Bill provides that all such rules made before its enactment will be void.
- Assent to Bills: The Act requires the LG to reserve certain Bills passed by the Legislative Assembly for the consideration of the President. These Bills are those: (i) which may diminish the powers of the High Court of Delhi, (ii) which the President may direct to be reserved, (iii) dealing with the salaries and allowances of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, and members of the Assembly and the Ministers, or (iv) relating to official languages of the Assembly or the NCT of Delhi. The Bill requires the LG to also reserve those Bills for the President which incidentally cover any of the matters outside the purview of the powers of the Legislative Assembly.
- LG’s opinion for executive actions: The Act specifies that all executive action by the government, whether taken on the advice of the Ministers or otherwise, must be taken in the name of the LG. The Bill adds that on certain matters, as specified by the LG, his opinion must be obtained before taking any executive action on the decisions of the Minister/ Council of Ministers.
Dr Asheesh Shah