As New Delhi, India’s sprawling capital of over 20 million people is in the midst of a catastrophic COVID-19 outbreak, lieutenant governor (L-G) Anil Baijal is now the ‘government’ in the Union territory after the Centre notified the amended Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021 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 April 2021 as the date on which the provisions of the said Act shall come into force,” the notification signed by additional secretary in the MHA, Govind Mohan, said.
According to the Act, the government in Delhi means the ‘Lieutenant Governor’ and it is incumbent now on the Arvind Kejriwal government to seek the opinion of the Lt Governor before taking any executive action in the city.
The bill was passed in the parliament last month—Lok Sabha on March 22 and Rajya Sabha on 24. It is brought into force in the wake of the deteriorating coronavirus crisis in the city, where people are struggling to find beds, oxygen supply is running short and there is shortages of key life-saving drugs.
Provisions of Government of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021
The new law states that the Delhi assembly continues to make laws on all subjects in the state list and concurrent list except public order, police and land. Under the new law, the Delhi government will now have to seek the lieutenant governor’s opinion before any executive action after the passage of the bill.
The new law says, “When a bill has been passed by the legislative assembly, it shall be presented to the lieutenant governor and the lieutenant governor shall declare either that he assents to the bill or that he withholds assent therefrom or that he reserves the bill for the consideration of the president.”
The law also proscribes chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi government to make any rule to enable itself or its Committees to consider the matters of day-to-day administration of the Capital or conduct inquiries in relation to the administrative decisions.
The amended law gives discretionary powers to the L-G even in matters where the Legislative Assembly of Delhi is empowered to make laws. The GNCTD (Amendment) Act, 2021 also ensures that the L-G is “necessarily granted an opportunity” to give her or his opinion before any decision taken by the Council of Ministers (or the Delhi Cabinet) is implemented.