President Gives Assent To Bill That Says ‘Government’ In Delhi Means ‘Lieutenant Governor’


President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave his assent to a bill that accords primacy to Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor (L-G) over the elected government. The Parliament had passed the Bill last week – Lok Sabha on March 22 and Rajya Sabha on March 24.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had termed it a “sad day for Indian democracy”.

The central government announced the presidential assent to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 through a gazette notification.

According to the legislation, the “government” in Delhi means the “Lieutenant Governor” and the city government will now have to seek the opinion of the L-G before taking any executive action.

Union Minister G Kishan Reddy had said the amendments would lead to transparency and clarity in governance in NCT of Delhi and enhance public accountability. He stressed that changes in the law have been sought in the spirit of the Supreme Court judgment.

In 2018, the Supreme Court had ruled that the Lieutenant Governor cannot act as an obstructionist in policy decisions of the union territory. All decisions of the government must be conveyed to the Lieutenant Governor, but his concurrence is not needed in all matters, the apex court had said.

Reddy said there was no political angle and the amendments are on “technical” grounds. “The proposed bill does not curtail in any manner any of the powers enjoyed by the government of NCT Delhi which are already provided in the Constitution,” he said.

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