In a move by the Central government, the Lok Sabha today passed a bill that seeks to make it clear that the "government" in Delhi means the "Lieutenant mGovernor" amidst strong opposition from the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party which said that the legislation is "unconstitutional". Expessing disappointment over the bill, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal slammed the Bharatiya Janta Party for cheating the people of Delhi.
Charging the BJP, the Delhi CM in a tweet wrote, "Passage of GNCTD amendment Bill in Lok Sabha today is an insult to the people of Delhi. The Bill effectively takes away powers from those who were voted by people and gives powers to run Delhi to those who were defeated."
Arvind Kejriwal had even urged the central government to take back the bill and said the AAP dispensation was ready to fall at the Modi government's feet for its withdrawal.
The bill makes it mandatory for the Delhi government to take the opinion of the L-G before any executive action. Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said the the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021 has become necessary as there have been ambiguity in certain issues related to the functioning of the Delhi government and several cases were also filed in courts.
However, since 2015, some issues have come up and cases were filed before the Delhi High Court, which also gave certain rulings.
Reddy said the court had also ruled that the L-G should be informed on executive issues of the city government. He said when the GNCTD Act was enacted in 1991 by the then Congress government, Delhi has been made a UT with an assembly with "limited legislative powers".
"We did not do that. It was a Congress government which piloted the Act then," he said. Reddy said the LG is an administrator so he has the right to know the day-to-day affairs. "We have not snatched any power from the Delhi government nor we have given any additional power to the LG," he said.
He strongly objected to some opposition members' reference that the "Modi government is dictatorial" and said the NDA government has not done anything wrong or new but just ended ambiguity and brought clarity on the Delhi government.
Participating in the debate, Congress member Manish Tewari said the bill is "unconstitutional" as it encroached upon the powers of the city government.
AAP member Bhagwant Mann also strongly opposed the bill and demanded its roll back.