Plea against GNCTD Act: HC seeks stand of Centre, Delhi government



NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday sought response of the Centre and Delhi government on a plea to declare as unconstitutional the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) Amendment Act which increases powers of the Lieutenant Governor.

This is the third plea challenging the Act after it came into force on April 27.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said it has already issued notice on the earlier two pleas — one by a lawyer and another by a law student — and will pass the same order in the latest petition by a man claiming to be an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member.

In the latest plea, the court issued notice to the Law Ministry and the Delhi government and sought their stand on the plea by Neeraj Sharma.

Delhi government standing counsel Santosh K Tripathi accepted notice on behalf of the city government.

The petitioner has contended that the amended GNCTD Act is contrary to various fundamental rights and Article 239AA of the Constitution as well as the Supreme Court decision holding that Lt Governor (LG) would have powers with regard to public order, police and land and for everything else, he shall be bound by the advise of the Council of Ministers.

In the earlier plea by a lawyer, it was contended that the Act would lead to confusion among the citizens as to who would be taking decisions for the national capital.

The lawyer’s petition claimed that vesting of powers in the LG “would not be in harmony with the republican system of government” and sought that it be quashed.

The petition of the law student has claimed that the Act “re-defines Delhi government as the Lt Governor” and curbs the Delhi Assembly’s power to conduct proceedings.

The law student has contended that the provisions of the Act are in contrast with the Supreme Court order on the powers of LG and the Delhi government, as the apex court had said that the LG would be bound by aid and advice of Council of Ministers except in matters of land, police and public order.

He has alleged that the provisions in the Amendment Act are also contrary to various fundamental rights and Article 239AA of the Constitution.

Article 239AA of the Constitution, among other things, provides that LG would be the administrative head of the National Capital Territory of Delhi and would be aided and advised by the Council of Ministers in relation to matters on which the Legislative Assembly has power to make laws.

The latest plea, by Sharma, has contended that making it mandatory for seeking the LG’s prior opinion before any executive action was arbitrary and violated Article 239AA and other provisions of the Constitution.

He too has contended that the amended Act was in violation of the Supreme Court decision on the issue of powers of the LG and the elected government.

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