Centre notifies amended GNCT Act; L-G now 'government' in Delhi
The Centre on Tuesday notified the amended Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021, redefining "Delhi government" as the Lieutenant-Governor. The elected Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi will now have to seek the opinion of the L-G, Anil Baijal, before any executive action. The move is seen as an attempt to strip the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government of its powers.
The Union Home Ministry said in a notification on Tuesday, "In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 1 of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021 (15 of 2021), the Central Government hereby appoints the 27th day of April 2021, as the date on which the provisions of the said Act shall come into force."
The law amends the GNCT of Delhi Act, 1991, and redefines Delhi Government as the L-G. It says the L-G's opinion "shall be obtained" on all such matters as may be specified by him before any executive action on decisions of the Council of Ministers. The law is controversial as it essentially undermines the elected government in Delhi.
The amended law was cleared by the Parliament last month amid a massive uproar. The Opposition had also walked out of the House in protest. Chief Minister Kejriwal had earlier described it as an "insult" to the people of Delhi and the "BJP's (Bharatiya Janata Party) assault on democracy and federalism." The BJP—which lost the 2020 Delhi elections—leads the ruling alliance at the Centre.
The Kejriwal-led AAP had won the 2020 Assembly elections in Delhi, bagging a whopping 62 out of 70 Assembly seats. The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—which leads the ruling National Democratic Alliance at the Centre—had won a meager eight seats during the election. The AAP has notably often accused the BJP of trying to rule Delhi by proxy, through the L-G.
The Act is viewed as a way to circumvent the interpretation made by the Supreme Court in the Delhi v/s LG case. In 2018, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the SC had held that the L-G is "bound by the aid and advice" of the Council of Ministers of Delhi Government, except in matters of land, police, and public order.