“Living in the capital of the World’s largest democracy, I can see my vote is of no value now,” says a Delhite.
With the introduction of the GNCTD bill, gone are the days when the people of the state voted for a party that used to form the government. Gone are the days when the Delhi government could make laws and amendments for the benefit of its people.
The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021, passed in the Lok Sabha on March 22, demarcates the powers of Lieutenant Governor and the council of ministers supervised by the Chief Minister.
The bill grants LG the authority to pass or disapprove any bill the Delhi government wants to execute or amend. LG will not assent those bills which fall outside the purview of the powers conferred by the Legislative Assembly. LG can appoint the employees of All India (Civil) services and the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
This law gives Lieutenant Governor the power to remove the government elected by the people of the capital. The bill gives no power to the elected government for conducting inquiries concerning administrative decisions.
Although, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs compels that the bill will remove Ambiguity. But if that’s the case, remove the process of elections with the Right to Choose from Delhi as well.
Delhi people are really happy with the functioning of Arvind Kejriwal’s government but maybe beyond the hunger for power the central government is not seeing anything, where is the democracy now? The central government is aiming of giving Delhi, a Union Territory, limited powers by chopping off the will and right to make amendments.
Existing Polity of Delhi:
Delhi government never have had the right to make laws on the matters of the state like:
- Public Order
- and now adding to this list – No right to pass a bill or amend a bill without the approval of Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Mr Anil Baijal, appointed by the central government.
Supreme Court in 2018 has said, LG can be the Administrative head but cannot act as the Obstructionist and interfere in every decision of the Delhi government. SC further added, the elected government must not obtain LG’s concurrence on a day to day affairs of the administration but it must inform the LG’s office.LG’s powers will surge with Delhi elected government’s shrinking.
All the executive work will be carried on the name of LG and since LG is controlled by the Central government aka BJP, you can fill in the blanks. The elected government doesn’t have the right to even question LG’s decisions.
AAP’s Stand on the Bill?
Arvind Kejriwal opposed the bill and condemned BJP’s unconstitutional and Anti-Democracy move. He twitted:
- In the bill, government means LG. Then what will the elected government do?
- Now all the files will be sent to the LG, which is against 4.7.18 Constitution Bench Judgement which said that files will not be sent to LG and the elected government will take an independent decision and send a copy of the decision to LG.
He targeted the central government saying, the BJP was rejected by the people of Delhi and it is seeking measures to curtail powers of the elected government through a bill in Lok Sabha.
Congress which ruled Delhi for 15 years from 1998 to 2012 plus for 50 days in 2013 when they had a collision government with AAP, said, the bill is an attack on the constitutional democracy.
Aam Aadmi Party has been in the power in Delhi since 2013 (50 days), although in 2014, it was ruled by the President for a year. People of Delhi have voted for AAP in the majority, making it their favoured party in the 2015 and 2020 elections (AAP won 67 and 62 seats out of 70 respectively).
Pros of the Bill:
- The bill aims at maintaining the consistency of Delhi with the status of Union Territories, by giving LG more powers.
- Proper Accountability by Checks and Balances
- Responsible behaviour by the Delhi government.
Cons of the Bill:
- Interfering in the functioning of the elected government
- LG can oppose the passing of a bill
- A deadlock decision may emerge, leading to LG removing the elected government’s authority.
India has developed over time, not because of its ambiguity, but because of its diversity. Clipping or restricting the authority of a democratically elected government is not acceptable. It is a murder of the rights of the people after they have voted for the elected government. It is an unconstitutional move and with the passing of this bill, the end of democracy is near.