Delhi Government Challenges Amendments to GNCTD Act: Delhi Government v. LG Supreme Court
- There is a petition in the Supreme Court against giving more rights to LG
- The Delhi government requested an early hearing
- Delhi Government’s Argument – The Act was passed against the decision of the SC
A petition by the Delhi government challenging the granting of more rights to LG may be heard soon. The Supreme Court will soon order a hearing on the petition. Appearing before a bench headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice NV Raman, senior advocate AM Singhvi said the petition filed in the case should be heard immediately.
Arguing on behalf of the Delhi government in the Supreme Court, it was said that the law was enacted against the decision of the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court, under which LG has been given more powers. The new law was passed in the Lok Sabha on March 22 and in the Rajya Sabha on March 24. A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Raman asked the petitioner to take an early decision on listing the petition for hearing.
Did the Center change the decision of the Supreme Court?
The Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi has filed an application in the Supreme Court on behalf of the Delhi Government and the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Law of the Government of India have been named as defendants. Sections 21, 24, 33 and 44 of the GNCTD Act have been amended (Delhi National Act State Capital), the petition filed by the petitioner said. In addition, the rules of conduct have been changed. These reforms have reduced the powers of Delhi’s elected government. The petition said that Delhi has an elected government and assembly and a cabinet but their powers have been curtailed after the legislative reforms in Parliament. In a way, if the Central Government has made this amendment on the judgment of the Supreme Court in this case, it cannot be allowed.
What did the Delhi government say?
The petitioner, in a petition filed by the Delhi government in the Supreme Court, said that on July 4, 2018, the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court had said in its judgment that the Delhi Cabinet would inform LG of its decision, but that did not happen. This means LG’s consent is required. In its decision, the Supreme Court had said that LG has no right of its own. He will either act on the advice of the Council of Ministers or send some special case to the President. There is a constitutional order under Article 239AA that the legislature of Delhi will be accountable to the people.
What’s in the new law
The petition also said that the National Capital Delhi Government (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on March 15, 2021 and the GNCTD Act was amended in 1991 and the law passed under it states that the government in Delhi is LG. Any legislation would mean LG. LG was given the authority to keep certain bills to the President for consideration. The Act also states that the action taken by the Delhi Government on the advice of the Ministers shall be in the name of LG. In some cases, LG’s opinion will be mandatory. It was approved by the President on March 28 and the amended law came into force.
The Delhi government has appealed to the apex court to quash the amendments made under sections 21, 24, 22 and 44 of the GNCTD Act and declare them unconstitutional. Changes made to the rules of business transactions and added facts should be declared unconstitutional.
Result of the Constitutional Bench of 4 July 2018
LG will not operate independently, the Supreme Court had said in its decision. If there is an exception, he can send the case to the President and abide by the decision taken by the President, i.e. he will not take any decision himself. A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court has set a benchmark for governance in the capital Delhi. The Supreme Court had interpreted Section 239AA. According to Article 239AA, LG is obliged to act on the advice of the Cabinet or refer the matter to the President. He will not decide the matter independently.
The Delhi High Court had named LG as Delhi’s administrative boss. The decision was challenged by the Delhi government in the Supreme Court. The Delhi government received great relief from the Supreme Court. A five-judge bench has ruled that LG cannot act as a deterrent. The five judges, headed by the then Chief Justice Deepak Mishra, unanimously ruled that LG in Delhi would act on the advice of the cabinet and not take the decision on its own. If there are exceptions in any case, refer to the President. The court said LG’s position in Delhi is not the same as that of the state governor. He is the administrator.
Also know before a High Court decision
The Delhi government had challenged the decision of the Delhi High Court, in which the High Court in its landmark judgment in August 2016 had said that the capital Delhi is still a Union Territory and a special provision has been made for it under Section 239 AA. Thus, the capital Delhi has an LG administrator. All the decisions taken by the Delhi government were declared illegal by the court, which was taken without LG’s consent. It was also said that LG is the administrative head of Delhi.
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