Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Analysing The Government Of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023: Key Changes And Controversies

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The Government of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023 was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. It has become a subject of heated debate. The bill aims to redefine the powers of the Delhi Government over services. It has significant differences from the previous Ordinance issued by the Centre.

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Background: Supreme Court Ruling And Ordinance

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The Supreme Court ruling granted the Delhi Government power over the administration and control of civil servants. There are certain exceptions related to public order, police, and land matters. In response, the Centre promulgated an Ordinance on May 19, including Section 3A. It prevented the Delhi Legislative Assembly from having powers over services, nullifying the effect of the Supreme Court’s judgment. The changes in the Bill are as follows:

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National Capital Civil Service Authority:

The bill proposes the establishment of a permanent authority named the “National Capital Civil Service Authority.” Chaired by the Chief Minister of Delhi, it will include the Chief Secretary and the Principal Secretary of the Home Department. The Authority will recommend transfers and postings of all Group ‘A’ officers and DANICS officers.

It will exclude those handling public order, land, and police matters. Additionally, the Authority can suggest disciplinary proceedings for these officers to the Lieutenant Governor (LG).

Final Authority with the LG:

While the bill provides for recommendations by the National Capital Civil Service Authority, the LG holds the final authority. In cases of disagreement, the LG’s decision will prevail.

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Section 45D Modification:

The bill modifies Section 45D of the Ordinance, which deals with appointments to statutory commissions and tribunals in Delhi. Appointments under Parliament Law will be made by the President, while those under Delhi Assembly Laws require a panel recommended by the National Capital Civil Service Authority, to be appointed or nominated by the LG.

Clarification By The Home Minister

Home Minister Amit Shah clarified that the bill is not contradictory to the Supreme Court’s judgment, as it recognizes Parliament’s power to make laws related to services in Delhi. He emphasized that the unique status of the National Capital Territory of Delhi calls for a balanced scheme of administration through parliamentary legislation, considering both local and national interests.

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Challenges And Constitution Bench Reference

The Delhi Government challenged the Ordinance in the Supreme Court, and on July 20, the court referred the matter to a Constitution Bench for adjudication. Section 45D of the Ordinance, specifically concerning the appointment of the DERC Chairperson, was also contested by the Delhi Government.

Way Forward

The Government of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023, has sparked intense debates due to its potential implications on the governance of Delhi. As it progresses through the legislative process, it will continue to draw attention from policymakers, legal experts, and citizens alike. The bill’s fate will be determined by the decisions made during the parliamentary proceedings and its eventual implementation in the national capital.

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