Government of NCTD (Amendment) Act, 2021

MAY 7

Preliminary   > Constitution   >   Union and States   >   Union territories

Why in news?

  • The Supreme Court recently referred to a five-judge Constitution Bench a dispute between the Centre and the Delhi Government on the issue of the control over bureaucracy in the national capital.

About the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021:

  • It amends the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991. 
  • The original Act provides a framework for the functioning of the Legislative Assembly and the government of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi.
  • The new Bill amends certain powers and responsibilities of the Legislative Assembly and the Lieutenant Governor.

About GNCTD Act, 1991:

  • The GNCTD Act was enacted in 1991 to supplement provisions of the Constitution relating to the Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers for the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
  • It enabled the process of an elected government in Delhi.
  • The Supreme Court had in the past appreciated the 1991 developments, stating that the real purpose behind the Constitution (69th Amendment) Act, 1991 is to establish a democratic set-up and representative form of government wherein the majority has a right to embody their opinions in laws and policies pertaining to the NCT of Delhi subject to the limitations imposed by the Constitution.

What is 69th Amendment Act, 1992?

  • It added two new Articles 239AA and 239AB under which the Union Territory of Delhi has been given a special status.
  • Article 239AA provides that the Union Territory of Delhi be called the National Capital Territory of Delhi and its administrator shall be known as Lt. Governor.
  • It also creates a legislative assembly for Delhi which can make laws on subjects under the State List and Concurrent List except on these matters: public order, land, and police.
  • It also provides for a Council of Ministers for Delhi consisting of not more than 10% of the total number of members in the assembly.
  • Article 239AB provides that the President may by order suspend the operation of any provision of Article 239AA or of all or any of the provisions of any law made in pursuance of that article. This provision resembles Article 356 (President’s Rule).

Salient provisions of amendment in 2021:

  • Restriction on laws passed by the Assembly:
    • The Bill provides that the term “government” referred to in any law made by the Legislative Assembly will imply Lieutenant Governor (LG).
  • Rules of Procedure of the Assembly:
    • The original Act allows the Legislative Assembly to make Rules to regulate the procedure and conduct of business in the Assembly.
    • The Bill provides that such Rules must be consistent with the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha.
  • Inquiry by the Assembly into administrative decisions:
    • The Bill prohibits the Legislative Assembly from making any rule to enable itself or its Committees to:
      • consider the matters of day-to-day administration of the NCT of Delhi and
      • conduct any inquiry in relation to administrative decisions.
    • The Bill provides that all such rules made before its enactment will be void.
  • Assent to Bills:
    • The original Act requires the LG to reserve certain Bills passed by the Legislative Assembly for the consideration of the President.  These Bills are those:
      • Which may diminish the powers of the High Court of Delhi
      • Which the President may direct to be reserved
      • Dealing with the salaries and allowances of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, and members of the Assembly and the Ministers
      • Relating to official languages of the Assembly or the NCT of Delhi.
    • The Bill requires the LG to also reserve those Bills for the President which incidentally cover any of the matters outside the purview of the powers of the Legislative Assembly.
  • LG’s opinion for executive actions:
    • The original Act specifies that all executive action by the government, whether taken on the advice of the Ministers or otherwise, must be taken in the name of the LG.
    • The Bill adds that on certain matters, as specified by the LG, his opinion must be obtained before taking any executive action on the decisions of the Minister/ Council of Ministers.

PRACTICE QUESTION

Which of the following statements is/are correct regarding?

1. Legislative Assembly of Delhi cannot make laws on subjects under the Concurrent List

2. Legislative Assembly of Delhi can make rules to regulate the procedure and conduct of business in the Assembly

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer