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NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 is against the Principle of Federalism

Synopsis: The Lok Sabha has passed the Government of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The Bill is against the constitutional morality and hence, it needs to be declared unconstitutional.

Background
  • Article 239AA of the Constitution of India granted Special Status to Delhi in 1991 through the 69th constitutional amendment (CAA).
  • The 69th CAA provided Delhi with a Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers (CoM). The CoM was made responsible to the legislative Assembly and empowered to deal with matters of concern to the common man.
  • The recently introduced Government of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 is against Article 239AA.

What are the changes made in the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021?

  • The Bill says, the expression “Government” referred to in any law to be made by the Legislative Assembly in Delhi shall mean the “Lieutenant Governor”.

READ MORE ABOUT THE GNCT OF DELHI BILL, 2021

What are the related rulings on this issue by the court?
  • First, the Govt. of NCT of Delhi v. Union of India (2018) case: The court stated that the Council of Ministers should keep the LG (Lieutenant Governor) informed of its decisions. The rationale of this decision was to resolve the difference of opinion between the LG and the Delhi government by referring it to the President.
      • Further, the court said the LG should be guided by the concept of constitutional morality. And the exercise of power to refer to the President should be an exception.
  • Second, in Samsher Singh v. State of Punjab (1974) the court warned against giving excessive powers to an individual like the Lieutenant Governor. The reasons stated by the court are,
      • One, elections will not have any meaningful value.
      • Two, the voice of the Citizens will go unrecognized. Because elected representatives chosen by the citizens are not given appropriate power to perform their functions
      • Three, it is against the concepts of pragmatic federalism and collaborative federalism.

Read more – NCT of Delhi Bill Critically Explained 

What are the issues in the recent amendments?
  • Firstly, the Lieutenant Governor has been made synonymous with the Government. The government that is a collective voice of millions of citizens is replaced by one individual.
  • Secondly, the bill provides the LG with enormous powers to refer all matters to the President.
  • Thirdly, it provides for a mandate to take the opinion of the lieutenant governor before taking executive actions.
  • Lastly, the above two provisions are against the Supreme Court ruling in Govt. of NCT of Delhi v. Union of India (2018) case and doctrine of Pith and substance.
    • The doctrine of Pith and Substance states that within their respective spheres the state and the union legislatures are made supreme. They should not encroach upon the sphere demarcated for the other.

The bill Is violative of the principles of participative democracy, cooperative federalism, collective responsibility to the House and, constitutional morality, and needs to be aborted

Source: The Hindu

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