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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Officers interpreting amended GNCTD Act incorrectly, says Delhi Chief Secretary

The amended Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act states that the L-G’s opinion shall be obtained before the government takes any executive action based on decisions taken by the Cabinet or any individual minister.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: August 3, 2021 1:59:52 pm
Anil Baijal's secretariat had written to the government in April specifying the matters on which they need to take the opinion of the L-G before acting on any decision taken by the Cabinet or any individual minister.

The amendment of a key Constitutional provision diluting the powers of Delhi’s elected government has made the city’s administrative hierarchy more complicated, leaving even senior officials confused, documents showed.

A memo issued by Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev, in which he pointed out that officials are forwarding files to Lt Governor Anil Baijal’s office based on a wrong interpretation of the amendment, is illustrative.

In the memo, Dev wrote that the Lt Governor’s secretariat had written to the departments in April specifying the matters on which they need to take the opinion of the L-G before acting on any decision taken by the Cabinet or any individual minister.

“However, it is found that departments have often been submitting files to the LG Secretariat on erroneous interpretation” of the order, Dev added. Moreover, the departments are not mentioning under which provision they are seeking the opinion of the L-G, he said.

The amended Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act states that the L-G’s opinion shall be obtained before the government takes any executive action based on decisions taken by the Cabinet or any individual minister.

The circular, dated April 19, assumes significance as it comes amid a growing tussle between the elected government and the L-G secretariat over the amended law, with the former alleging that Baijal is taking undue interest in matters that fall outside his purview by calling officials to his office and holding meetings.

Baijal has, however, rejected the charges, saying he is sticking to the Constitutional mandate and that the meetings he had called were “strictly within the ambit of constitutional provisions and responsibilities” entrusted to him.

Seen against this context, the memo issued by Dev also appears to be an attempt by the L-G to allay concerns of the elected government that its powers are being gradually curtailed. Especially since it reiterates the instructions of the LG house that only selected matters should be sent to him for his opinion.

Those include any issue falling under any law made by the Parliament; matters related to police, public order, land and services; grant of parole; establishment of boards or commissions; matters related to the recommendations of the Delhi Finance Commission among others.

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