Says amendments to GNCTD Act kills ‘principles of federalism’
The Delhi Government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court against the Centre’s amendments to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) Act claming the Centre is violating the “principles of federalism”.
Importantly, the Centre, through its amendments, has given more power to the Lieutenant Governor than the elected Government of the people of Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government said in a Press statement issued from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).
Issuing a statement on the development, the Delhi Government said with GNCTD Act Centre’s attempt to treat the Lieutenant Governor as the “default administering authority over the NCT of Delhi”, encroaches upon the powers of the legislators. “The Centre’s amendments violate the basic structure of the Constitution; go against section 239-AA and constitutional bench order,” quoted Delhi Government’s statement.
The Delhi Government has challenged the constitutionality of Sections 21, 24, 33, 44 of the GNCTD Act, 1991 and Rules 3, 6A, 10, 14, 15, 19, 22, 23, 25, 47A, 49, 52 and 57 of Transaction of Business of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Rules, 1993.
It is important to mention here that in 2016, following differences between the L-G and the Delhi Government in respect of powers, duties and governance, the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court had held that the Council of Ministers shall inform all its decisions to the L-G but that does not mean the accord of the L-G is required.
While on March this year, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled Central Government introduced the GNCTD Act Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha and passed it and the Bill received the assent of the President and became the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act 2021, on March 28, 2021.
In its petition, the Delhi Government has contended that the amended sections of the GNCTD Act diminish constitutionally guaranteed powers and functions of the elected legislative Assembly and council of Ministers of Delhi and overturn the constitutionally stipulated balance between the Delhi Government and the Union Government and overrule the judgment of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in “Government of NCT of Delhi v Union of India, (2018)”.
The Delhi Government has sought a direction, order or writ declaring and quashing Sections 21, 24, 33, 44 of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 as amended by the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021 as unconstitutional and ultra vires the Constitution of India.
“The Delhi Government has strongly contended against the Transaction of Business of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Amendment Rules and said they dilute and divest the executive powers of the elected Government of Delhi by transferring the powers to the L-G and the Secretaries in the Delhi Government in derogation of representative form of Government as envisaged under Article 239-AA of the Constitution of India,” quoted the Delhi Government’s statement.