The confrontation between the Centre and the Delhi government over the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 which was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, could soon land in the Supreme Court.
According to an AAP leader, the Delhi government is expected to approach the Supreme Court over the bill, which seeks to give more powers to the Lieutenant Governor, thereby curbing the powers of the state government, since the legislation is against the spirit of the judgment of the apex court with regard to division of powers in the NCT of Delhi.
The Supreme Court had, in January 2019, ruled that the Delhi government need not obtain the LG’s concurrence on every issue of day-to-day governance.
The Rajya Sabha passed the bill, which was already passed by the Lok Sabha, amidst all-round criticism by the opposition benches.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal reacted to the passage of the bill, saying it is a sad day for Indian democracy. “We 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,” he tweeted.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia termed it a black day for democracy and remarked that the powers of the government elected by the people of Delhi have been snatched and given to the Lt Governor. “The irony is that Parliament, which is a temple of democracy, was the place where democracy was murdered. The people of Delhi will fight against this dictatorship,” Sisodia tweeted.
The National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill 2021 seeks to better define the powers of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. The bill was cleared by the Union cabinet last month after which the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi had come out to criticise it, calling it a murder of democracy and accused the BJP of secretively drafting the amendments so as to govern Delhi in an unconstitutional manner using the LG’s office.
The proposed amendments give more powers to the LG and prescribe timelines for the elected government to send legislative and administrative proposals to the LG for his opinion.