Lok Sabha Passes Bill Giving L-G of Delhi Control over Group A Services

  • 04 Aug 2023

On 3rd August, the Lok Sabha approved the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023, granting the Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) of Delhi authority over Group A services.

Key Points:

  • The Background: The Bill replaces the Delhi Ordinance brought on May 19, which had overridden the Supreme Court's order that granted authority over civil servants to Delhi's elected government, except for issues related to land, police, and public order.
  • Unique Status of Delhi: The bill's statement of reasons highlights Delhi's unique status as the capital of India and aims to promote national interests while considering the aspirations of Delhi's residents.
  • Article 239AA in the Constitution confers special status on Delhi based on the recommendations of the S. Balakrishnan Committee and was added through the 69th Amendment in 1991.
  • Empowering the Lieutenant Governor (LG) through the NCCSA: The new bill removes Section 3A of the ordinance, granting control over services to the Delhi legislative assembly, but empowers the LG in several significant matters.
  • Role of NCCSA: The bill establishes the National Capital Civil Services Authority (NCCSA), comprising the chief minister as the chairperson, the principal home secretary, and the chief secretary of Delhi.
  • The NCCSA will make recommendations to the LG, who is appointed by the Union government, on transfers, postings, vigilance, disciplinary proceedings, and prosecution sanctions of civil servants of Group A of All India Services and DANICS (Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli (Civil) Services).
  • Decisions of the NCCSA will be based on a majority vote, potentially allowing the Union government-appointed members to overrule the chief minister's decisions.
  • The LG will have the power to approve the NCCSA's recommendations or seek reconsideration, and his decision will prevail over the NCCSA in case of differences of opinion.
  • LG's Discretionary Powers and Control over Important Matters: The bill grants the LG the power to exercise "sole discretion" on several matters, including those outside the legislative competence of the Delhi Legislative Assembly, matters requiring his discretion or judicial functions, among others.
  • The elected government's powers to issue orders on crucial matters are curtailed, as the final word is given to the LG on issues impacting peace and tranquility in Delhi, Delhi government's relations with the Central government, state governments, Supreme Court, High Court of Delhi, and other authorities, summoning, prorogation, and dissolution of the Legislative Assembly, etc.
  • The bill also allows department secretaries to directly consult the LG, chief minister, and chief secretary without involving the concerned minister.