The Aam Aadmi Party has begun protesting the Union government’s introduction of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021 in Parliament. When passed this will translate into the recognition of the Lt Governor as the “government” in Delhi, in context of all legislations to be passed by the state Assembly. The AAP has responded saying the Bill is “unconstitutional, undemocratic” and is against the Supreme Court (SC) order. AAP has announced that it will hold a “massive protest against BJP’s Anti-Constitution move of trying to curtail the powers of Delhi’s elected govt by amending the GNCTD Act”. The protest will be held on March 17, at Jantar Mantar.
AAP will hold a massive protest against BJP’s Anti-Constitution move of trying to curtail the powers of Delhi’s elected govt by amending the GNCTD Act.
?Date: 17/03/2021 (tomorrow)
?Place: Jantar Mantar
All MLAs & Cabinet Ministers will be present.
— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) March 16, 2021
“The Bill says: For Delhi, “Govt” will mean LG Then what will the elected govt do?” asked Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The Bill says-
1. For Delhi, “Govt” will mean LG
Then what will elected govt do?
2. All files will go to LG
This is against 4.7.18 Constitution Bench judgement which said that files will not be sent to LG, elected govt will take all decisions and send copy of decision to LG https://t.co/beY4SDOTYI
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) March 15, 2021
He of course was reminded of the ‘support’ he and his government gave when Jammu and Kashmir lost its statehood.
In spite of AAP’s support for the dismemberment & downgrading of J&K in 2019, we still condemn this assault on the powers of the elected government of Delhi. Delhi deserves to be a full state with all powers exercised by the elected government & not a nominated LG. https://t.co/FNki0Skzd3
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) March 15, 2021
Sanjay Singh, AAP Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha from Delhi, posted on social media that the “Legislative Assembly in Delhi was made up of the 69th amendment of the Constitution, the Hon’ble Supreme Court considered the CM in Delhi as the government,” and asked “why Amit Shah wants to make LG the government in an unconstitutional manner”.
दिल्ली में विधानसभा 69वे संविधान संसोधन से बनी, माननीय सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने दिल्ली में CM को सरकार माना तो क्यों असंवैधानिक ढंग से अमित शाह बनाना चाहते है LG को सरकार। pic.twitter.com/YZ2Meaxcmu
— Sanjay Singh AAP (@SanjayAzadSln) March 16, 2021
The Union Government, on Monday March 15, had introduced a Bill in Lok Sabha to bring amendments to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991, which decides the roles of the elected government, and the nominated Lieutenant Governor in Delhi. According to the Hindustan Times, the “statement of objects and reasons of the Bill said this 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 will make it “mandatory for the Delhi government to take the opinion of the L-G before any executive action in the city,” and 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 reported HT.
According to a report in the Indian Express, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has said that if those proposed amendments are passed, then “elections and the elected government in Delhi will become meaningless.”
बीजेपी आज संसद में नया क़ानून लेकर आई है – 1. दिल्ली में उपराज्यपाल ही सरकार होंगे
2. मुख्यमंत्री, मंत्री को अपनी हर फ़ाईल LG के पास भेजनी होगी
चुनाव के पहले बीजेपी का घोषणापत्र कहता है कि दिल्ली को पूर्ण राज्य बनाएँगे. चुनाव जीतकर कहते हैं दिल्ली में LG ही सरकार होंगे.
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) March 15, 2021
The power tussle between the state government and Centre, has been going on for a long time. As reported earlier, Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP has always promised to fight for statehood for Delhi, in each election manifesto. He has also always mentioned that even though there was an elected government in Delhi, the National Capital, it did not have control over crucial departments such as Delhi Police, Land, Public Services etc. All these answers to the Lt Governor. However, there came in 2018, a ruling by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court that stated that the Lt Gov “ would be bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers” in matters that were not directly under the control of Raj Bhavan.
According to IE, Manish Sisodia has cited that ruling and said, “The Centre has brought in Parliament an undemocratic and unconstitutional Bill. It says L-G is the government and all decisions and files have to be routed through him,” adding, “This Bill goes against what the Supreme Court Constitution Bench order had stated. If this is what the Centre wants to do, what is the point of holding elections and there being an elected government in the state? Why does the Centre pretend to be democratic?” Sisodia has alleged that the amendment Bill was a ploy by the Centre to incapacitate the Delhi government, which was working for the people, he said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) “lost elections in Delhi and could not buy MLAs like they do in other states, so they are using this tactic in Delhi.”
According to IE’s report, the amendment Bill seeks to add that before any executive action is taken in “pursuance of the decision of the Council of Ministers or a Minister” or to “exercise powers of the government”, the opinion of the Lt Gov. has to be obtained. It l refers to clause (4) of Article 239AA of the Constitution, which states that there will be a Council of Ministers in Delhi to “aid and advise the Lieutenant Governor” and that in cases of difference of opinion between the L-G and the Ministers in making laws, the former will refer it to the President for a decision. It is explained that this Bill seeks to clarify the expression “Government”, which shall mean the L-G in context of legislation passed by the Assembly. This, it says, will be “consistent with the status of Delhi as a Union Territory” and will “address the ambiguities in the interpretation of legislative provisions”.