Understanding the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2023

2 Sep 2023  Read 2049 Views

Perhaps one of the most debated and controversial bill (now Act)  of Indian politics and governance, the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2023 has emerged as a significant topic of discussion. The Bill, was introduced recently in the Lok Sabha, and it seeks to bring about changes that touch upon the governance structure and decision-making processes in the National Capital Territory of Delhi .

But as per CM Kejriwal passing of Delhi Ordinance bill on 7th August 2023 is a "black day" in the history of democracy as the central government has curtailed the freedom of Delhi. Is the Act that bad as it is being portrayed? Let’s find out in this blog.

Highlights of the Government of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2023

The central aspects of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2023 include following: 

  1. The establishment of the National Capital Civil Services Authority (NCCSA) and the empowerment of the Lieutenant Governor (LG) with enhanced discretionary powers. 

  2. It will comprise the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary of Delhi, and Principal Home Secretary of Delhi. This Authority is tasked with making recommendations to the LG concerning transfers, postings of officials, disciplinary matters, and prosecution sanctions of certain All India Services.

Section 45-E (1):There shall be an Authority to be known as the National Capital Civil Service Authority (NCCSA) to exercise the powers conferred on, and discharge the functions assigned to it under this Part. It shall be headed by the Delhi chief minister and will comprise the chief secretary and the principal home secretary.

  1. It grants the LG sole discretion in various matters, including those recommended by the National Capital Civil Services Authority.

  2.  It extends to summoning, prorogation, and dissolution of the Delhi Legislative Assembly. Additionally, department secretaries can raise issues that might lead to controversies with the Central Government directly with the LG.

  3. The Act grants the power to appoint authorities, boards, and commissions to the President for laws of Parliament. For laws enacted by the Delhi legislative assembly, the NCCSA will recommend suitable candidates for appointment, nomination, or constitution by the LG

Section 45-D: Appointments of chairperson and members of any authority, board, commission or any other statutory body shall be made by the President if such body operates under a central law. For the other bodies functioning under the laws framed by Delhi assembly, the National Capital Civil Service Authority (NCCSA) will send the recommendations to LG, who will have the final say.

Read our recent blog on the latest bills passed in the much happening monsoon session of the Parliament 

Key Issues of Govt. of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Act

The introduction of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2023 has generated debates due to certain key issues and implications. Let's explore these issues and analyze their potential impact:

  1. Granting the National Capital Civil Services Authority the power to recommend transfers and postings of officials may disrupt the triple chain of accountability connecting civil services, ministers, legislature, and citizens. This can potentially undermine the principles of parliamentary democracy and the elected government's authority.

  2. The Act empowers the LG with broad discretionary powers, which could curtail the Chief Minister's ability to convene essential legislative sessions. This might impede essential government functions and decision-making.

  3. The provision allowing department secretaries to bypass ministers and directly bring matters to the LG raises concerns about undermining the collective responsibility of the Cabinet. This could lead to decisions made without the input of relevant ministers.

Recent Developments

In a recent development, the Supreme Court granted the Delhi government permission to amend its petition challenging the passed law by Parliament.

  • The amendment to the petition was sought as the challenged Ordinance had now transformed into law post-Parliament clearance. The Centre expressed no objections to this amendment.

  • The apex court's Chief Justice Chandrachud-led bench allowed four weeks for the Centre to respond to the amended plea. 

  • Earlier in July 2023, the Supreme Court referred the Delhi Government's challenge against the Central ordinance – the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023 – to a Constitution Bench. 

  • The Chief Justice Chandrachud-led bench emphasized that this issue would be referred to a Constitution Bench and refrained from addressing it prior to the Constitution Bench's discussion on the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir

Read our blog to stay updated with the live hearing of the ongoing discussion on the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir

Conclusion

The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2023 stands as a one of the most contentious issue that demands careful consideration. As the debate continues, all hopes of Delhi Government lies with the Supreme Court of India. The evolving dynamics between the elected government, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Central Government will not only define the governance model in the NCT but also set precedents for the relationship between Union Territories and the Center in the broader context of Indian democracy. 

Tell us in the comment section below , what should be the faith of governance in Delhi (NCT)

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2023?

  • The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2023, is an Act aimed at altering the governance framework and decision-making processes in Delhi. It establishes the National Capital Civil Services Authority (NCCSA) and empowers the Lieutenant Governor (LG) with increased discretionary powers.

  1. What is the role of the NCCSA?

  • The NCCSA comprises the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary of Delhi, and Principal Home Secretary of Delhi. Its responsibilities include making recommendations to the LG regarding transfers, postings of officials, disciplinary matters, and prosecution sanctions of certain All India Services.

  1. How does the Act impact the LG's powers?

  • The Act empowers the LG with extensive discretionary powers, including matters endorsed by the NCCSA and even involving the summoning, prorogation, and dissolution of the Delhi Legislative Assembly.

  1. What are the concerns regarding the NCCSA's authority?

  • There are apprehensions that the NCCSA's authority to recommend transfers and postings could disrupt the accountability chain connecting civil services, ministers, the legislature, and citizens, potentially challenging the principles of parliamentary democracy.

About the Author: Devansh Dixit | 35 Post(s)

Devansh is a 4th-year law student from Amity Law School Noida (Uttar Pradesh), currently interning at Finology Legal. He is specialising in business and commercial laws. 

Liked What You Just Read? Share this Post:

Finology Blog / Legal / Understanding the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2023

Wanna Share your Views on this? Comment here: