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Bill to define Delhi L-G’s powers

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    23rd Mar, 2021

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) moved a bill in the Lok Sabha where it proposed that “government” in the national capital territory of Delhi means the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.

Context

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) moved a bill in the Lok Sabha where it proposed that “government” in the national capital territory of Delhi means the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.

What are the proposed provisions under the bill?

  • Amendments: The Bill proposes to amend Sections 21, 24, 33, and 44 of the Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) 1991 Act.
  • Discretionary powers to L-G: The Bill gives discretionary powers to the L-G of Delhi even in matters where the Legislative Assembly of Delhi is empowered to make laws.
    • The proposed legislation also seeks to ensure that the L-G is “necessarily granted an opportunity” to give her/his opinion before any decision taken by the Council of Ministers (or the Delhi Cabinet) is implemented.

Constitutional Status of Delhi                     

  • UT with a legislature: Delhi is a Union Territory with a legislature.
  • Constitutional Amendment: It came into being in 1991 under Article 239AA of the Constitution inserted by the Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991.
  • Legislative Powers: As per the existing Act, the Legislative Assembly of Delhi has the power to make laws in all matters except public order, police, and land.

The reason behind the Bill

  • It states that Section 44 of the 1991 Act deals with the conduct of business
    • no structural mechanism for effective time-bound implementation
    • no clarity over the proposal or matters which are required to be submitted to Lieutenant Governor before issuing the order.

Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and its Powers

  • The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi is the constitutional head of the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
    • The post was first established in September 1966, when The Delhi Administration Act, 1966 came into effect. 
    • The 69th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1991, added article 239AA to the constitution.
      • Section 44 of the 1991 Act says that all executive actions of the L-G, whether taken on the advice of his Ministers or otherwise shall be expressed to be taken in the name of the L-G.
      • Article 239AA of the Constitution says the Council of Ministers will aid and advise the L-G in matters where the Legislative Assembly has the power to make laws except where the L-G can exercise discretion.

Discretionary Powers of L-G

  • Matters which falls outside the purview of the powers conferred on the Legislative Assembly but in respect of which powers or functions are entrusted or delegated to him by the President; or
  • He is required by or under any law to act at his discretion or to exercise any judicial or quasi-judicial functions.
  • If any question arises as to whether any matter is or is not a matter as respects which the Lieutenant Governor is by or under any law required to act at his discretion, the decision of the Lieutenant Governor thereon shall be final.
  • If any question arises as to whether any matter is or is not a matter as respects which the Lieutenant Governor is required by any law to exercise any judicial or quasi-judicial functions, the decision of the Lieutenant Governor thereon shall be final.
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