Special case of Delhi
Present Status Autonomy of Delhi
- Constitutionally, Delhi is a Union Territory (UT) (since 1991) with a legislature.
- Generally all the budgets of UT’s without Legislature is a part of Home Ministry Budget . Hence, their financial powers are limited . But, Delhi has unlimited Financial Powers as long as it is generating its own resources.
69th Constitutional Amendment , 1991
69th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1991 provided following provisions
- Administrator was designated as Lt. Governor
- Strength of Legislative Assembly Fixed at 70 & Strength of council of Ministers to 7 (10%)
- Chief Minister is to be appointed by President(not Lt. Governor) & other ministers by President on advice of Chief Minister
- Lt. Governor can promulgate ordinance during recess of Assembly but with prior permission of President
Restrictions on power and authority
- At present, Delhi Assembly, like
other State Assemblies, has
power to make
laws on all subjects
except on 3 (PPL) ie:
- Public order
- Legislations on matters related to Municipal Governance require the consent of Lt Governor, Union government and President . So, the Municipal Corporation is not under the full control of the Delhi government.
Debate – Statehood for Delhi
|2020||During Delhi elections, this was the major issue raised by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) |
|June 2018||Delhi Legislature passed resolution to make Delhi a Full State |
|2016|| Proposal was to make Delhi a state with certain safeguards |
1. Keep NDMC (Lutyens and Embassies) under Union Government
2. Appoint Governor instead of Lt Governor
3. Special Cadre of Officers for Delhi
Arguments for statehood to Delhi
- Due to present status , Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Police and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) are not under Delhi Government.
- Multiplicity of Governance leading to lack of accountability : With such an overlap of responsibilities, Citizens cant hold governments accountable
- Union Government : Lt Governor, Police, DDA
- State Government : Water, Electricity, Transport, Health, Education etc
- Local Government (MCD) : Birth Death Registration, Sanitation etc
- Delhi has population of 2 crore (more than 10 full-fledged states), but democratic aspirations of the people of Delhi cant be met without being granted Statehood
- To update infrastructure, Delhi needs to take recourse to market borrowing but, not being a state, cannot do so.
- Evolution Process must reach conclusion : Union Territories were created with the idea to provide a transitional status to become states. With time, Goa, Manipur, Himachal Pradesh and Tripura have been granted statehood.
Arguments against full statehood (with way forward)
- The capital region has diplomatic areas and other institutions of national interests.
- It is not possible for the central government to come under a state government’s administrative jurisdiction.
- Constituent Assembly Debates : This issue was raised for the first time by Pattabhi Sitaramayya in 1947 in the Constituent Assembly. But B.R. Ambedkar, Jawaharlal Nehru and others opposed it.
- To ensure police accountability to Delhi, statehood may not be necessary. An Oversight Committee consisting of Delhi CM and Union Minister can address local specific problems.
- Macro Planning for the National Capital requires long-term thinking and sound technical advice, which the Ministry of Urban Development is far better equipped to provide.
|Washington DC||– In America, a district (capital) was created that the federal government could administer itself for its convenience. |
– At the same time, local issues were relegated to its local mayoral government. But Police in Washington is under Mayor .
|Canberra||Canberra doesn’t have a same legislative INDEPENDENCE as other Australian States and Australian Governor General is the head of Australia’s capital territory |
|Beijing||In China , Central Government exercises more control not only over the city of Beijing ,the capital but also over important cities of Shanghai , Tianjin and Chongqing.|
Given the global experience & other reasons sited above, it would not be prudent to give full statehood to Delhi. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize the genuine rights of the citizens and balance them against the equally legitimate concerns of national nature.
Supreme Court Judgement : Is Lt. Governor bound by advise of Chief Minister?
Issue that Governor is bound to act on the aid & advice of Council of Ministers is settled fact by Supreme Court Judgements . But whether extends to Union Territory of Delhi as well , is matter of debate due to unique position of Delhi (& Pondicherry as well) under Constitution.
- 2015: AAP Government vs LG Najeeb Jung. Conflict over bureaucratic appointments, including who should be promoted as the chief Secretary of Delhi.
- AAP government blaming the LG of not clearing the schemes/initiatives/files related to health, education, PDS, transport, etc. and routinely referring every matter to President.
2018 Supreme Court Judgement
- Supreme Court judgement in the Government of NCT Delhi vs Union of India case, overturned the August 2016 judgment
- Resolving the dispute over the
demarcation of powers between the Union Government and the Government of
Delhi, the Supreme Court laid down a few key principles:
- Lt Governor is bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers in all areas except 3 exempted subjects
- Lt Governor will be advised by Union government on the matters of public order, police and land.
- When difference of opinion arises on “any matter”, the Lt Governor can’t take a decision on its own or force a decision on the cabinet. He has to refer such matter to the President of India. But, LG should not act in a mechanical manner without applying mind and forward every decision of the Council of Ministers to the President of India.
- In a democracy , it is the will of democratically elected government that prevails. LG can only act as check on the abuse of power and cant become power into itself.
Feb 2019 : 2 Judge Supreme Court Bench ruling
After July 2018 Judgement, it was thought that tussles between Union and State has been resolved .
- In a setback to Delhi Government, Supreme Court has ruled that Anti – Corruption Bureau is under the control of Lieutenant Governor which by extension means the center .
- On the question of who has the powers of transfers and postings of officers , both judges differed and hence matter has been referred to a larger bench.