Is Delhi a Union Territory or State?

30 Aug 2022  Read 27540 Views

The capital of India, New Delhi, is frequently stated as “Dilwaalon ki Dilli '', an area where humans have contented hearts. Delhi has a massive range of historical and ancient artifacts. However, it's far domestic to all three branches of the Government of India. With its lengthy records of empire successions from the Delhi Sultanate to Mughals, after which the British, the town of gift stands as one of the quickest growing towns withinside the world. Delhi is cherished by the vacationers in addition to its population for it's far a town of the clever and the spice!

Is Delhi a State or Union Territory, or both?

The controversies surrounding the reputation of Delhi have left a common man scratching his head with gift AAP authorities locked in a battle towards the Center. For Delhi, they're nevertheless in a doldrum about the function of the elected Delhi Government, Lieutenant Governor, and Central Government within the management of the nation. Delhi`s reputation is weird because the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi has the Union Territory (UT) reputation within the selection, making strength vested with the President of India. However, in 1991, with the enactment of the 69th Amendment Act 1991, Article 239AA turned into brought, and it conferred a unique provision for renaming the Union Territory of Delhi to NCT of Delhi with the aid of vesting the executive powers withinside the palms of the Lieutenant Governor. Since then, there has been confusion concerning the function and powers within the palms of Delhi's democratically elected authorities. 

Want to know What's the difference between State and Union Territory? Read here.

What makes Delhi so special?

Delhi is Popular For Red Fort. Red Fort is a remarkable fort in the city of Delhi. Street Food. Demonstrating the valor of the Indian past and archaic culture,  Delhi, India, is a special World Heritage site Delhi has brilliant historical importance as an essential commercial, transport, and cultural hub, in addition to the political center of India. The capital is popular for one more aspect.

  • Qutub Minar

  • Chandni Chowk

  • Sansad Bhavan

  • Gurudwara Bangla Sahib

  • Lodhi Gardens

  • India Gate.

Delhi and its History 

Delhi has been a critical town because of Mahabharata's historical time to being unbiased India's capital. Delhi has been the confluence of culture, economics, and politics, with humans from one-of-a-kind regions journeying to the town. Over the years, Delhi has been the capital of numerous kingdoms and empires; each rule impacted the town that humans need to recognize approximately. From the historic town of Indraprastha to the National Capital Territory of Delhi, the town has passed through a superb transition. Even after that, the town lives and breathes each essence of the impact left on it over the hundreds of years.  Delhi on the time of Independence and after that 

In 1911, the British crown shifted its administrative capital from Calcutta to Delhi; in 1927, it was renamed New Delhi, earlier than being formally inaugurated in 1931 as the brand new capital of British India. Due to geopolitical importance, it was made the capital of unbiased India in 1947; at that time, the town was referred to as the Chief Commissioner's Province of Delhi. In 1956, the National Reorganisation Act 1956 was passed, and Delhi turned into the Union Territory.  the reputation of the Union Territory of Delhi was below Article 239 of the Constitution of India, with the executive strength vested within the palms of the President of India. The very last calls concerning the passage of regulation or change had been with the President primarily based totally on the recommendation of Delhi`s legislative meeting and its Council of Ministers had the proper to enact and by skip legal guidelines relating majority of entries cited withinside the State and Concurrent List, whilst the President did now no longer want require the recommendation of the Council of Ministers. 

Article 239A and the 69th Constitutional Amendment

In 1991, a protracted dialogue and deliberation passed off within the parliament at the function of Delhi`s legislative meeting, the Council of Ministers, the President, or the Lieutenant Governor. The parliament surpassed the 69th Constitutional Amendment and brought every other provision to Article 239. With the advent of Article 239AA, the Union Territory of Delhi was given unique provisions amongst all of the UTs, with the strength moving from President to Lieutenant Governor. UT of Delhi was modified to the National Capital Territory of Delhi. According to Article 239AA, the Legislative Assembly has the strength to make or amend legal guidelines for the complete or any part of the National Capital Territory, with subjects enumerated withinside the State List and the Concurrent List for subjects relevant to Union territories. 

What gives Delhi a Special Status?

Should Delhi be dealt with like a Union Territory with the Lt. Governor as its administrative head or as a Special State in which the Lt. Governor is sure with the aid of using the recommendation of the Chief Minister? 

Case  Description :

 On 4th July 2018, the five-Judge Bench unanimously held that the Chief Minister is the government head of the NCT:: in which 

  •   CJI Misra`s majority opinion 

  •  Justice DY Chandrachud`s concurring opinion 

  •  Justice Ashok Bhushan`s concurring opinion 

The tussle between the Chief Minister of Delhi and Lt. Governor of Delhi subsequently brought about a criminal controversy regarding the reputation of the NCT (National Capital Territory). The trouble revolves across the administrative powers of the Lt. Governor of Delhi in light of the unique reputation of Delhi as a Union Territory. The troubles raised in this example became formerly heard with the aid of using the Delhi High Court in 2015 due to a chain of run-ins among Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Retd. Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung over subjects which includes the appointment of a Chief Secretary without consulting the Lt. Governor and the Chief Minister instituting corruption inquiries without the Lt. Governor`s concurrence. 

The confusion arose because of the unique nature of Delhi, a Union Territory with a State's functions, including having an elected legislature. The 69th Amendment to the Constitution in 1992 introduced Article 239AA, which mandated an elected Assembly for Delhi. The unique provisions introduced thru the 69th Amendment created confusion with recognition to the jurisdiction of the Delhi Government vis-a-vis the Centre.  

The Delhi High Court in its judgment on 4th August 2016, held that Delhi remains a Union Territory regardless of Article 239AA .  in addition held that the unique provisions integrated for Delhi now no longer overrule the impact of Article 239. Article 239 empowers the Lieutenant Governor to behave independently of his Council of Ministers. As a result, all inquiries which have been initiated with the aid of using the Delhi Government without the concurrence of the Lt. Governor have been declared illegal, which includes the inquiries into the issuance of CNG permit to vehicles, an economic inquiry into Delhi, and District Cricket Association, amongst others. The concurrence of the Lt Governor has become obligatory for all administrative selections of the Council of Ministers of Delhi. 

The Delhi Government challenged the Delhi High Court selection earlier than the Supreme Court. In February 2017, the two-Judge Bench listening to the matter referred it to a five- Judge  Constitution Bench. On 4th July 2018, the Constitution Bench ruled that the Lt. The Governor is sure with the aid of the Aid And recommendation of the Council of Ministers. 

Special Status of Delhi: A  Brief Timeline 

  • In 1911 Delhi was made the Capital of India by the colonial British authorities. Delhi Tehsil and Mehrauli Thana had been separated from Punjab and annexed to the city. Delhi became then called the `Chief Commissioner's Province`. The following year, the Delhi Laws Act was exceeded, making unique Punjab legal guidelines relevant to Delhi. The 1915 Amendment to the Delhi Laws Act allowed the Chief Commissioner of Delhi to decide the legal guidelines that might be introduced to Delhi via notifications issued within the Gazette of India. 

  •  In 1951 Government of Part C States Act Passed  This regulation hooked up a Legislative Assembly in Delhi. The Act additionally empowered the Legislative Assembly to make legal guidelines on the subjects in  List II (the State List) of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India, 1950.

  • However, the Delhi Legislative Assembly became barred from legislating on subjects regarding public order, police (along with railway police), the charter of and powers of municipal groups and nearby authorities, and lands and homes belonging to the Union located in Delhi. Further, it couldn't legislate on offenses violating legal guidelines referring to different topics in List II, or the jurisdiction of courts on subjects in List II.

  • In 1956 Delhi Became a Union Territory Parliament exceeded the Constitution of India (7th Amendment) Act, which sooner or later applied the States Reorganisation Act, 1956. Regions in India had been divided into States and Union Territories. Delhi became a Union Territory and became to be ruled by an administrator. This administrator was appointed by the President. The Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council of Delhi had been abolished.

  •  In 1966 Delhi Administration Act was passed to provide for consultant authorities in Delhi by putting in a Metropolitan Council. The Council consisted of fifty- six elected individuals and 5 nominated individuals. The Ministry of Home Affairs ordered that the Lieutenant Government, Administrator, or Chief Commissioner shall all be a problem to the President`s manipulation. 

  •  In 1989 Balakrishnan Committee Submits Report installation through the Union Government in 1987, submitted its guidelines at the administrative popularity to be conferred on Delhi. The Report, headed by civil servant S. Balakrishnan, endorsed that Delhi had to remain a Union Territory. 

  • However, a Legislative Assembly and Council of Ministers ought to be instituted. Further,  unique popularity ought to be conferred on Delhi via an Amendment to the Constitution. This might maintain the territory`s stability. In its reasoning, the Report cited the federal department of powers among the Union and the States. If Delhi had been made a State, Parliament might not have any energy to legislate on topics withinside the State List referring to the country-wide capital, keep in brilliant circumstances.

  • Due to this, the Union might not be able to discharge its unique duties withinside the country-wide capital and, consequently, withinside the state itself. Further, the Report reasoned that because the country-wide capital, Delhi, belonged to the state as an entire.

  • In 1991 Parliament Grants Special Status to Delhi Through the Constitution (69  th Amendment) Act, 1991, Parliament inserted Articles 239AA and 239AB. Article 239AA of the Constitution created unique provisions for Delhi. First, it stated that the `Union Territory of Delhi` might henceforth be called the `National Capital Territory of Delhi` (NCT).

  • The administrator of the NCT might be the `Lieutenant Governor` (LG). Article 239AA installation a Legislative Assembly which might have the energy to make legal guidelines for the NCT with admiration to the subjects withinside the State List and Concurrent List of the Constitution—to this point as those subjects practice to Union Territories.

  • However, the Legislative Assembly was no longer empowered to make legal guidelines on public order, the police, and land. Article 239AA did now no longer deprive Parliament of making legal guidelines with admiration to Union Territories, Delhi included.

  • The provision installed a Council of Ministers and a Chief Minister for Delhi. They might be a `useful resource and advise` the LG on the subjects on which the Legislative Assembly became empowered to make legal guidelines. In case of a confrontation between the LG and the Legislative Assembly, the President shall determine the dispute.

  •  In 1991 Provision in Case of `Failure of Constitutional Machinery` Article 239AB laid out provisions that might come into pressure in the failure of constitutional machinery. If on receiving a file from the LG, the President reveals that the management of the NCT can not be performed in step with the provisions of Article 239AA, they'll by ship an order postponing the operation of any part of Article 239AA or legal guidelines exceeded below it. 

  • In 1991 Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act Passed by the Parliament enacted the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 provided impact to the provisions of Article 239AA. As in line with the Act, the LG is to behave most effectively with admiration to the subjects which might be out of doors the legislative competence of the Legislative Assembly of the NCT or to the subjects which might be delegated to the President.

  • The LG may also exercise their discretion while they're required to accomplish that through any regulation or to exercise judicial or quasi-judicial functions. The LG can not exercise its discretion in all subjects. 

  •  In 1996 New Delhi Municipal Corporation v State of Punjab, a nine-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court in New Delhi Municipal Corporation v State of Punjab said that the Union Territory of Delhi constitutes an administrative magnificence through itself and is consequently wonderful from different Union Territories. Delhi has unique constitutional popularity—Delhi`s Legislative Assembly, Council of Ministers, and cupboard device of the presidency had been delivered into impact through a Constitutional Amendment.

  • Justice Jeevan Reddy, writing for the majority, recommended that the legislature created below Article 239AA became no longer a full-fledged legislature and that now no longer all Union Territories will be located at the identical pedestal. However, the Bench emphasized that Delhi stays a Union Territory because of the `National Capital Territory` through Parliament via its constituent energy. 

  • In 2016 Delhi HC held that Delhi Remains a Union Territory Despite Article 239AA The life of Article 239AA—it's miles the LG, and now no longer the Chief Minister, who's the government head of the NCT. Article 239 empowers the Lieutenant Government to behave independently of the Council of Ministers.

  • The commissions for inquiry installation through the Delhi Government probing the 2002 CNG Fitness rip-off and the illegalities dedicated through the Delhi and District Cricket Associations had been declared unlawful as they had been installed without the concurrence of the LG. The Judgement made it obligatory for the Council of Ministers to achieve the concurrence of the LG for all administrative selections. The Delhi Government challenged this choice in the Supreme Court in 2016. 

  • In 2019 SC Deliberates on Whether it's miles the Delhi Government or the Union that Controls `Services` In a split-choice, the SC in Government of NCT of Delhi v Union of India, 2019, deliberated on who has energy over `offerings` in Delhi, or the appointment and switch of bureaucrats.

  • Justice A.K. Sikri held that the Delhi Government held energy over the offerings at the same time, Justice Bhushan stated that it became the Union that exercised those powers. This remember became cited by a three-Judge Bench of the SC withinside the identical year. 

  • In 2021 Union Government Enacted the Government of National Capital Territory (Amendment) Act The Government of National Capital Territory (Amendment) Act, 2021 sought to triumph over the SC`s 2018 choice. The Act barred the Legislative Assembly from thinking about subjects at the day-by-day management of NCT. Further, the Assembly became prohibited from accomplishing inquiries into administrative selections through the Union.

  • The Act required Bills exceeded through the Legislative Assembly to be reserved through the LG for the President's attention if the Bill `incidentally` included subjects out of doors the Assembly`s purview. Under the Act, all government movements taken through the authorities ought to first get hold of the LG`s opinion. 

  • In 2021 Delhi Government challenged the Amendment in the Supreme Court The Delhi Government argued that the Amendment diminishes the powers of the Legislative Assembly through organizing the LG because of the default administrative authority over the NCT. They similarly argue that this Amendment assaults the primary capabilities of federalism, separation of powers, rule of regulation, and consultant democracy. 

  •  In 2022 SC Hears Arguments on Control of Services  A Bench comprising Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justices Surya Kant, and Hima Kohli is presently listening to arguments withinside the remember referring to the manipulation of offerings in New Delhi.


As consistent with Article 239AA – Public Order, Police & Land in NCT of Delhi fall in the area and manage the Central Government, which shall have the strength to make legal guidelines on those subjects. For ultimate subjects of State List or Concurrent List, as such a relay is relevant to UTs, the Legislative Assembly shall have strength to make legal guidelines for NCT of Delhi. Further, for Offences towards legal guidelines, Jurisdiction & powers of Courts (besides SC) and Fees (besides court fees) as they relate to Public Order, Police & Land in NCT of Delhi; Central Government might have strength to make legal guidelines. On evaluating the normal occasions in Delhi and destiny viable capability abuse of powers, in derogation to other, together with the criminal provisions contained in Article 239AA . we will say that governance preparations as supplied below Article 239AA seem to have not fulfilled the objective, i.e. to cope with subjects of difficulty to the common man”.

About the Author: Shivam Pathak | 23 Post(s)

Shivam is pursuing a BA. LL. B (HONS.) 5-year integrated course from Amity University, Raipur, Chhattisgarh. With a core interest in Criminal and Civil Law, his hobbies are reading books and listening to songs in his free time.

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