In the middle of the second wave of covid-19 in the country, the centre has notified a law that formally makes the elected government of Delhi a subsidiary of the Lt. Governor’s Office. According to the amended law, the “Government of Delhi” now refers to as the “Lieutenant Governor of Delhi”, who represents the Centre. Now, Delhi government will have to seek opinion of Lieutenant Governor before taking any executive decision.
“Government of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021, notified with effect from April 27; now govt in Delhi means Lt Governor,’’ a notification issued by the Centre said, according to news agency PTI.
The law was controversially cleared in Parliament last month amid opposition protests in both houses.President Ram Nath Kovind had given his assent to the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021 on March 28. When the Bill cleared Parliament, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called it a “sad day for Indian democracy”.
The Amendment was widely criticised by the Delhi’s governing Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) saying that it would take away power from the elected government in the National Capital Territory. The Centre said the move was to establish structural clarity.
In its verdict in July 2018, a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court held that the Lt. Governor’s concurrence was not required in NCT of Delhi on issues other than police, public order and land. The judges had ruled that the lieutenant governor is “bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers” and that “the Lieutenant Governor has not been entrusted with any independent decision-making power”.
The apex court’s verdict had provided relief for the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government which had been embroiled in a tussle with the Lt. Governor and the Centre over governance and policy decisions.