Context: Five years ago, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court advised the Centre, acting through the Lieutenant Governor, and the Delhi government led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to follow the path of “collaborative federalism”. The term, coined by the court in its July 2018 judgment, merely meant that the Centre and the Delhi government should lay aside their differences, show mature statesmanship in their relationship. The five judge Bench had held that the two powers —Centre and Delhi government — were “interdependent”.
ADMINISTRATION OF DELHI
• Delhi State Legislative Assembly having a Chief Minister came into being in 1952 under Government of Part-C States Act, 1951. (Chief Commissioners Province)
• The States Reorganisation Act, 1957, conferred UT status on Delhi, to be administered by an Administrator appointed by President.
• Limited representative government was provided by the Delhi Administration Act, 1966.
• Constitution 69thAmendment added Article 239AA & Article 239AB which was gave constitutional status and the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCT) Act, 1991 was enacted based on recommendations of Balakrishnan Committee Report.
• Election Commission under Article 324 conducts elections to Legislative Assembly of Delhi.
ARTICLE 239AA – SPECIAL PROVISIONS WITH RESPECT TO DELHI
Provides that Legislative Assembly of Delhi can legislate on matters in State & Concurrent List except – State List: Entry 1–Public Order; Entry 2 – Police; Entry 18 – Land.
DELHI HIGH COURT JUDGMENT – 2016
It declared Delhi as a UT, with LG as administrative head having discretionary powers.
SC JUDGMENT – 2018
• Reversed Delhi HC Order – stated that Article 239AA provides for representative government with Council of Ministers to aid and advice the LG except on matters he refers to the president.
• Court Focussed on Collaborative Federalism – “The Union government and the State governments should endeavour to address the common problems with the intention of arriving at a solution by showing statesmanship, combined action and sincere cooperation. In collaborative federalism, the Union and the State governments should express their readiness to achieve the common objective and work together for it.”
• If difference arises on any matter, LG has to send it to the President.
• However, LG cannot refer every matter to the President as Article 239AA (4) mentions about “any matter”.
SALIENT FEATURES OF GOVT. OF NCT DELHI ACT, 1991
• Special address by Lieutenant Governor: At the first session after election of Legislative assembly and at the first session of each year.
• Matters in which Lieutenant Governor to act in his discretion, which falls outside purview of powers of Legislative Assembly; matters in which powers or functions are entrusted or delegated to LG by the President; where LG under any law is required to act in his discretion, where LG is to exercise any judicial or quasi-judicial functions.
• President shall make rules for procedure to be adopted in the case of a difference of opinion between the Lieutenant Governor and the Council of Ministers or a Minister.
• All executive action of the Lieutenant Governor shall be expressed to be taken in the name of the Lieutenant Governor.
• Duties of Chief Minister: To communicate to LG all decisions of Council of Ministers relating to administration of the Capital and proposals for legislation, to furnish such information relating to the administration of the Capital and proposals for legislation as LG may call for & if the Lieutenant Governor so requires, to submit for the consideration of Council of Ministers any matter on which a decision has been taken by a Minister but which has not been considered by the Council.
PROVISION IN CASE OF FAILURE OF CONSTITUTIONAL MACHINERY IN NCT OF DELHI (ARTICLE 239AB)
• President after receiving report of LG may suspend the operation of Article 239AA or any law made under Article 239AA for one year.
• President’s order under Article 239AB shall expire at the end of one year from the date of issue of the order and the provisions of clauses (2) and (3) of Article 356 shall apply to such order as they apply to a Proclamation issued under clause (1) of Article 356.
GOVERNMENT OF NCT DELHI AMENDMENT (2021)
• The term “government” referred in any law made by Legislative Assembly will imply LG of Delhi.
• Rules regulating procedure and conduct of business in Delhi Assembly to be consistent with Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha.
• Prohibits Delhi Assembly from making any rule to enable itself or its committees to: (i) consider matters of day-to-day administration of NCT of Delhi (ii) conduct any inquiry in relation to administrative decisions.
• The Amendment 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.