Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s ongoing tussle with the BJP-led Union government has got difficult. The Lok Sabha on Monday (March 22) passed the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which gives Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi, who represents the Centre, more powers in the decision-making process.
As per the Bill, the Delhi government must obtain the opinion of the Lieutenant Governor before implementing any policy decision.
The Bill contrasts a 2018 decision of the Supreme Court Constitution Bench, which held that the Lieutenant Governor’s concurrence is not required on issues other than police, public order and land.
“The status of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi is not that of a Governor of a State, rather he remains an administrator, in a limited sense, working with the designation of Lieutenant Governor,” the five-judge bench had said.
The Centre, however, says the Bill is necessary as it would clearly define the responsibilities of the elected government and the Lieutenant Governor in keeping with the Constitution.
The Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi has often accused the BJP-led Centre of using the position of Lieutenant Governor to rule Delhi by proxy. “The Centre has brought in a law that says ‘Delhi government means Lieutenant Governor’. If this happens, where will the CM go? Do elections, votes do not mean anything? It is a fraud with the people,” Kejriwal said a few days back.
Opposition parties have opposed the Bill. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee termed it (Bill) a surgical strike on the federal structure of the Indian Republic.