Statehood for Delhi

  • The 69th constitutional amendment designated Delhi as the National Capital Territory of Delhi and also provided Legislative Assembly. However, it was not conferred with full statehood and is administered by the union government through Lieutenant Governor.  
  • Article 239AA and 239AB declares the powers and limitations to the legislature of the NCT by keeping Public Order, Police and Land out of its purview.
  • This has been a bone of contention between successive governments in Delhi and the Union Government, for granting proper statehood to Delhi.
  How Delhi is different from other states? 
  • Article 239AA of the Constitution expressly precludes the state government of Delhi from control on the subjects of land, police and public order.
  • Any law passed by Delhi assembly with respect to local bodies has to be sent to the Urban Development Ministry for approval and it should be in concurrence with Municipal Corporation Act 1957.
  Problems with the existing laws
  • Federalism and autonomy is in question as the state government has to get approvals for most of the laws which is passed by them.
  • The existing set up undermines the role of an elected legislature
  Why statehood should be granted?
  • As the CM and legislature is elected by the people, so they are responsible for the governance of Delhi. Hence, they must be given sufficient power to deliver the same.
  • It would also provide the equal right of people for representation and self-governance.  
  • After increasing incidents of Rape and other crimes, the demand for control over Delhi Police has become stronger, with the logic of democratic control 
  • As land doesn't come into Delhi Government purview, it has to depend on the Central government for approval of acquisition for infrastructural development. 
  • Delhi is already the world's second most populous city in the world with the acute water problem and other urbanization associated problems. There are three major power centres in Delhi- union government, state government and municipal bodies- without clear demarcation of duties and responsibilities. The grey areas still prevail largely making the governance of the urban centre complex. 
  • Many times the Art. 239AA and clause 45 of NCT Act is misused by the Lt. Gov. to decide on discretion without consulting the democratically elected government. This undermines the democratic ethos of Delhi.
  Relevance in contemporary politics:  
  • The subject of statehood to Union Territories (especially Delhi) has been a political topic for the past 2 decades. The union government which has its seat of power in Delhi wants to have substantial control in all matters as it may affect the performance of government if the state is ruled by an opposition party. Thus the elected institutions need to the strengthened & empowered for delivering the best to the citizens.
Read Also: Inter-State Council (ISC) Read Also: What is Article 35A?