The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, intended to replace the contentious ordinance regarding the control of services and officers’ posting in Delhi, has undergone significant revisions. Union Home Minister Amit Shah is scheduled to present the bill in Parliament on July 31, and it has already been shared with MPs, as reported by Hindustan Times.
Previously, on May 11, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Delhi government, granting it control over services in the national capital, with the exception of matters related to public order, land, and police. However, in response to this verdict, the Centre introduced the May 19 ordinance, which aimed to override the Supreme Court’s order and retain control over the transfer and appointments of bureaucrats in Delhi.
This National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill has led to a major clash between the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government and the Centre, with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accusing the BJP of attempting to undermine the rule of law and take control of officers in the capital.
Notably, the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill has undergone changes, with three provisions removed from it, as reported by HT:
1. Removal of Section 3A: The provision that restricted the Delhi Assembly from enacting laws related to ‘State Public Services and State Public Service Commission’ has been omitted in the bill. This provision, which allowed the Legislative Assembly to make laws, has been eliminated, and the bill now focuses on Article 239AA, which empowers the Centre to establish the National Capital Civil Service Authority (NCCSA).
2. Article 239-AA(7): The bill no longer mentions Article 239-AA(7), which was previously used by the Centre to remove “services” from the elected government’s jurisdiction. The court had raised questions about this provision and referred the matter to a constitution bench for judgment.
3. Mandating annual report: The requirement for the NCCSA to furnish an annual report to Parliament and Delhi Assembly has been removed from the bill.
Additionally, the bill introduces changes to Section 45D, which deals with the appointment of chairpersons and members of various authorities, boards, commissions, and statutory bodies in Delhi. The provision that mandated the placement of ‘orders/directions of ministers’ to be referred to the central government before the Lieutenant Governor and the Chief Minister of Delhi has also been omitted.
A new provision has been added, stating that the Lieutenant Governor will make appointments to Boards and Commissions constituted by the Delhi government based on a panel of names recommended by the National Capital Civil Service Authority, which includes the Chief Minister of Delhi. The Boards or Commissions are formed by the law enacted by the Delhi assembly.
On July 20, the Supreme Court raised questions about Section 3A of the 2023 Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) Ordinance, which granted the Centre control over the state’s bureaucracy. The matter has been referred to a Constitution bench consisting of five judges to examine the Delhi government’s challenge to the ordinance.