February 5, 2021 12:40:08 am
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia Thursday claimed that the Centre had “secretly” worked to table amendments to the Government of NCT of Delhi Act to govern the national capital through the “backdoor”.
The allegations come in the backdrop of the Union cabinet clearing amendments to the Act, which lays down rules for the governance of the national capital — which is not a full state but has its own legislative assembly and elected government.
Sources said that the proposed amendments aim to give more powers to the Lieutenant Governor, who is the representative of the Centre, and bring the services department under the Centre’s control through an amendment to the Act instead of an executive order, which is in place at present.
The AAP government has had a combative relationship with the L-G as well as the Centre, since it came to power for the second time in 2015. Its previous government lasted only 49 days.
“It is clearly mentioned in our Constitution that barring police, land and public order, everything else falls under the ambit of an elected government in Delhi. In its reading of the Constitution, the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court has clearly distinguished the powers of the elected government and L-G. But, the BJP, which has faced defeat thrice in the past, wants to govern Delhi through a proxy,” Sisodia said.
In 2018, the Supreme Court Constitution Bench said that the L-G does not have any independent decision-making power and that “he has to either act on the ‘aid and advice’ of Council of Ministers or he is bound to implement the decision taken by the President on a reference being made by him.”
This does not apply to issues of law, public order, land and police as they come under the L-G and Delhi government cannot make any decisions in these matters.
This judgment, senior Delhi government officials said, freed their hand to a considerable degree and helped pass the order that electricity consumers will not be charged if they use less than 200 units per month, something experts believe was instrumental in the party coming back to power third time in a row in 2020.
“The L-G will use this Act to unnecessarily intervene in the matters of public interest and impede the progress of Delhi. In the last five years, L-G has invariably hindered the decisions made by Delhi government.
Due to this, many progressive schemes such as mohalla clinic, CCTV, free electricity and water, school infrastructure improvement and others were delayed, the cost of which is borne by the people of Delhi,” Sisodia said.
He also alleged that BJP, instead of improving governance and policies in states it governs, is trying to pull back Delhi’s progress.
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