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National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021

National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021

  • Context (TH): The Delhi government urged SC to quash an ordinance that slips control over civil servants back into the hands of the Lieutenant-Governor (L-G).

Centre vs. Delhi Government

  • According to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021, the “government” in Delhi means the “Lieutenant Governor”.
  • 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.
  • It gives primacy to the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) over the elected government in the city.

Power Struggle in Delhi

SC verdict

  • The judgment of a Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud had limited the role of the L-G over bureaucrats in the capital to three specific areas — public order, police and land.
  • SC held that the elected govt of Delhi has legislative and executive power (Including control over bureaucrats) in NCT Delhi except on matters such as Public order, police and Land.
  • SC said a principle of “triple-chain of collective responsibility” existed in the governance of the capital:
    1. Civil service officers are accountable to ministers.
    2. Ministers are accountable to Parliament/legislature.
    3. Parliament/legislature is accountable to the electorate.

Centre’s ordinance to negate Supreme Court order

  • The Centre brought an ordinance designating the L-G as the administrator of Delhi who will have the final say on the postings and transfer of all bureaucrats serving the Delhi government.

Way forward

  • The bureaucrats have to come under the control of the Delhi government, otherwise, its responsibility towards the legislature and the public is diluted.
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