ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Gutting the Powers of an Elected Government

The ordinance shows the dismal view of the ruling party towards opposition-led state governments.

The union government’s decision to issue an ordinance in May 2023 to give the lieutenant governor of Delhi the power to control the services personnel in the national capital has triggered a major political controversy. The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance , 2023 nullified the Supreme Court judgment that granted the Delhi government full control over the service conditions, transfers, and postings of bureaucrats working under it. The ordinance has resulted in the formation of the National Capital Civil Service Authority (NCCSA). The chief minister of Delhi shall be the head of the committee overseeing decisions in the NCCSA. However, it will also include the chief secretary and principal home secretary of Delhi, with all differences of opinion to be referred to the lieutenant governor, whose decision shall be considered as final. Thus, the union government’s ordinance has effectively reduced the administrative powers of the elected government in Delhi.

The chief minister of Delhi has argued that the ordinance is undemocratic and is in direct violation of the Supreme Court decision, which had ruled in favour of the state government after a long legal battle of eight years. He has also challenged the timing of the ordinance, which came just a week after the apex court’s verdict. He has accused the union government of trying to sabotage the functioning of a popular government elected by the people of Delhi. The Supreme Court had decided that the elected government of Delhi had the legitimate authority to supervise or control the services department, rather than the lieutenant governor. The Court in its decision had further reasoned that administrative services ought not to be separated from the legislative and executive domains of an elected government, because the civil servants, after all, implement the legislative and executive decisions of an elected government. More­over, the Court also pointed out that the position of the lieutenant governor is bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers, and that giving a final say to the former in matters of administration would violate the principles of the Constitution.

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Updated On : 17th Jun, 2023
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