NEW DELHI: President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave his assent to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021, which gives more power to the lieutenant governor over the elected government.
The Act now mentions that “the expression” government “referred to in any law to be made by the legislative assembly shall mean the lieutenant governor”. The GNCTD (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was passed in Lok Sabha on Monday and in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday amid ruckus by the Opposition members.
The central government announced the primary assent through a gazette notification. The bill sought to make changes in section 33 so that the “legislative assembly shall not make 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” .
Also, now the LG’s opinion will be required before taking “any executive action in pursuance of the decision of the council of ministers or a minister, to exercise powers of the government, state government, appropriate government, lieutenant governor, administrator or chief commissioner, as the case may be, under any law in force in the capital “.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had tweeted on Wednesday: “RS passes GNCTD Amendment Bill. 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. ” On Sunday, Kejriwal thanked Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan “for supporting the people of Delhi against BJP’s assault on democracy and federalism” after the latter tweeted that the bill was “an affront to our federal principles and rights of states”.
Though Aam Aadmi Party had vehemently opposed the bill, it couldn’t be reached for comments on Sunday.
Union Minister G Kishan Reddy had said the amendments would lead to transparency and clarity in governance in Delhi and enhance public accountability. Explaining the rationale behind the bill, he added that the amendments had been brought to remove ambiguities in the existing Act. He stressed that changes in the law had been sought in the spirit of what was said in a Supreme Court judgment.
Reddy said there was no political angle and the amendments were on “technical” grounds. “The Bill does not curtail in any manner the powers enjoyed by Delhi government that are already provided in the Constitution, “he had added.