NEW DELHI: A Bill seeking to give overarching power to Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday, drawing flak from the AAP government which termed it an attempt to drastically curtail the powers of an elected government.
The Government of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021, moved by Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy aims to “promote harmonious relations between the legislature and the executive” and define the responsibilities of the L-G and the elected government.”The proposed amendments seek to clarify the expression ‘government’ which would mean ‘Lieutenant Governor’ in the context of any law to be made by the assembly.
The proposed amendments make it clear that it will be mandatory for the Delhi government to take the opinion of the L-G before taking any executive action in the city. The Bill seeks to bar Delhi government from making any rule to enable itself or its committees to consider the matters of day-to-day administration or conduct inquiries in relation to the administrative decisions. Any rule made till this Act comes into effect will be void, as per the Bill.
“In section 24 of the principal Act — which requires a Bill passed by the Delhi Legislative Assembly to be presented to the L-G who may assent, withhold or reserve it for consideration of the President — an additional clause will be inserted to cover any of the matters that fall outside the purview of the powers conferred on the assembly,” said the Bill document.
The proposed amendments drew sharp reaction from CM Arvind Kejriwal, who tweeted, “After being rejected by the people of Delhi (eight seats in Assembly, 0 in MCD bypolls), BJP seeks to drastically curtail powers of elected government through a Bill in LS. The Bill is contrary to Constitution Bench judgment. We strongly condemn BJP’s unconstitutional and anti-democracy move.”
“The Bill says: 1) For Delhi, ‘government’ will mean L-G. Then what will the elected govt do? 2) All files will go to the L-G. This is against 4.7.18 Constitution Bench judgment which said files will not be sent to the L-G, and the elected govt will take all decisions and send a copy of the decision to the L-G,” he said in another tweet. He termed the move as a “revenge” on his government after the BJP failed to win any seat in MCD bypolls.