Disregarding Constitution, court, citizens

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Source– The post is based on the article “Disregarding Constitution, court, citizens” published in “The Hindu” on 24th May 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Issues and Challenges Pertaining to the Federal Structure

Relevance- Constitutional issues related to NCT of Delhi

News– Recently, a Constitution Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud held that the Delhi government can make laws and administer civil services in the national capital.

In response, The President promulgated the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023 to make a fresh claim of power over the services in the capital.

How the control over services by LG has impacted the administration in Delhi?

In 2015, when the Union Ministry of Home Affairs took away the Delhi government’s control over services and gave it to the Lieutenant Governor.

It impeded the Delhi government’s work. There were day-to-day problems in the functioning of important departments as secretaries were changed frequently. Frequent transfers of officials impacted the consistency and efficiency in governance.

Over two years, the Centre changed Delhi’s Health Secretary eight times and derailed the Delhi government’s relief efforts.

As the government had no functional control over services, it could not punish errant officers. Delhi witnessed the highest number of vacancies of teachers, doctors, engineers, clerks and other staff because of personnel mismanagement.

Several honest and efficient officials were often penalised for their merits and subjected to punishment postings. They had no clarity on whose directions they were to follow.

The Services Department even refused to answer questions raised by MLAs in the Vidhan Sabha. Some senior officials even started skipping meetings called by Ministers. They evaded answerability for delayed, inefficient and inadequate action.

How did the ordinance passed by the centre disregard the spirit of the constitution?

The ordinance has disregarded the elected government in the matter of services. So, it reduces the value of the citizen’s vote and of cooperative federalism.

It is an institutionalisation of the Centre’s tendency to use the apparatus of Governor/LG to undermine democratically elected governments in States/NCT.

The Ordinance is an attempt to disempower opposition-run governments and disenfranchise the people.

For more reading –

Tussle over services in Delhi

Supreme Court empowered Delhi government

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