A huge setback for the Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal as President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave his consent to the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill 2021.
The Bill says that ‘government’ in the NCT of Delhi means ‘Lieutenant Governor’ and enhances Delhi’s L-G’s powers.
The government of Delhi will now have to seek the L-G’s opinion before taking any executive action. The Parliament’s Houses had passed the Bill last week, Lok Sabha on 22 March and Rajya Sabha on 24 March.
Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has been against the Bill, and its chief Arvind Kejriwal has called it BJP’s assault on democracy and federalism.
When Parliament passed the Bill, Delhi CM termed it a “sad day for Indian democracy.” CM Arvind Kejriwal took to his official Twitter account.
While replying to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan (who had also opposed the Bill) said, “Thank you Pinarayi Vijayan Ji for supporting the people of Delhi against BJP’s assault on democracy and federalism.”
Vijayan had expressed, “Govt of NCT of Delhi Bill is an affront to our federal principles and rights of States.
Restriction of the constitutional authority of democratically elected State Govts and violation of Supreme Court’s verdicts should be resisted. BJP has colonial a mindset.”
However, the Centre has sustained that the Bill is in line with the Supreme Court’s July 2018 ruling on the ambit of L-G’s powers and the Delhi government after a series of run-ins between the two.
Union Minister G Kishan Reddy had said the amendments would lead to the governance’s transparency and clarity in the NCT of Delhi and improve public accountability.
Explaining Bill’s rationale, he said the amendments had been brought to remove obscurities in the prevailing Act.
However He emphasized that changes in the law had been sought in the spirit of what has been said in the Supreme Court’s judgment.
Kishan Reddy said there was no political angle, and the amendments are on “technical” grounds.
As well as He also added that the proposed Bill does not reduce any powers enjoyed by NCT Delhi’s government which are already provided in the Constitution.”