On August 11, 2023, President Draupadi Murmu gave assent to the contentious ‘Government of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023’ to become an act.
The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023, tabled and passed in the Indian parliament and replaced a current ordinance that overrides a directive of the Supreme Court that gives command to the government of Delhi over most services.
- The ordinance has been a major reason for contention between Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party and the central government.
- The Bill was passed in both the upper and lower Houses of the Indian parliament on August 7, 2023,
All About the New Act
- The act states that the LG will be empowered to exercise his sole discretion on various matters, which will include the National Capital Civil Services authority’s recommendations and the prorogation, summoning, and dissolution of the Delhi Legislative Assembly.
- Designating LG as the final authority.
- Empowering LG to appoint heads of Boards and Commissions.
- Creation of the National Capital Civil Service Authority (NCCSA).
- Composition of the NCCSA: The NCCSA will be chaired by the Chief Minister of Delhi, who will be the ex-officio chairperson of the authority. The Chief Secretary will serve as a member, and the Principal Home Secretary of Delhi will be the member secretary. Decisions of NCCSA will be made by a majority vote of the members present and voting.
- Lieutenant Governor
- The LG can return the NCCSA’s recommendation if it disagrees with it.
- LG’s decision is final, in case of disputes.
Background of the Issue
- The government of Delhi and LG have been in a legal battle since 2015, over control of “services” in Delhi.
- The Supreme Court gave a split verdict in 2019, and a five Judge Constitution Bench recently (May 2023) granted more powers to the Delhi government over services.
- It ordered that the Delhi government will have control over administrative services other than matters related to public order, police and land.