This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Gouri Mehra. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

GNCTD Amendment Act 2021: To Whom Does Delhi Belong Now?

“Although it does not use the word federation, the Indian Union is based on the principles of federalism.” (Democratic Politics, Grade X, NCERT Publications)

From time immemorial, Delhi has been the seat of power in the ever turbulent and dynamic political arena of India. History is testimony to the numerous wars waged, and political conflicts birthed out of a race to usurp Delhi. Though it is not as bloody as the 1857 siege of Delhi or the 1398 Battle of Delhi, the tussle over the administrative authority in the state takes shape today as the ongoing scuffle between the Delhi Legislative Assembly and the Central Government over the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD Amendment) Bill of 2021.

The GNCTD (Amendment) Act was moved in the Lok Sabha on the 15th of March, 2021 by the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri G Kishan Reddy. With a view to define the duties of the Lieutenant Governor (hereon referred to as the LG) and to realise the 2018 verdict of the Honourable Supreme Court, this Bill was passed by both Houses of Parliament and signed by the President of India. 

The Bill very explicitly states that the term “government” referred to in any law made by the Delhi Legislative Assembly will imply the LG. While the Bill grants permission to the state legislature to establish rules regulating the procedure and conduct of business in the assembly, it additionally provides that such directives must be consistent with the Rules of Procedure of the Lok Sabha. This is something rather bizarre in the sense that usually, decrees have to be in keeping with the Constitution. By supplementing this stipulation, the Centre has very cleverly snatched the inherent authority of the Delhi Legislative Assembly.

Following the 2020 riots in Delhi, the Legislative Assembly had designated a Peace and Harmony Committee tasked with probing and investigating the genesis of these riots. When the committee, well within its rights, summoned a Facebook executive to inquire into the organisation’s failure to take action against posts that incited violence, the matter went to court. The executive argued that the Parliament and any of its committees had the sole authority to summon any official; the Delhi Legislative Assembly was trying to fit in shoes which were too big for it. How does this case have a role to play here?

Arvind Kejriwal attacks L-G over vacancies in hospitals, Anil Baijal hits back
Arvind Kejriwal with LG Anil Bajjal. Image Credit: DNA India.

This Amendment Bill prohibits the Delhi Legislative Assembly from formulating any rule to empower itself or any of its committees to consider the matters of the day-to-day administration of the NCT of Delhi or conduct any enquiry concerning administrative decisions. It further appends that all such rules made before the enactment of the Bill shall be considered void. Many critics of the Bill suppose that this stipulation has been put in place to render the Peace and Harmony Committee nugatory and turn the tables in favour of Facebook.

According to the 69th Constitutional Amendment, the Delhi Legislative Assembly had the potency to legislate on all subjects mentioned in the State and Concurrent Lists, except for three retained by the Parliament, which were: land, law and order, and police. The Act now requires the LG to reserve those Bills for the President, which ‘incidentally’ cover any matter that falls outside the purview of the assembly-namely land, law and order, and police. Affixing the term ‘incidentally’ here makes this provision obscure. It poses a situation where any and every matter may be reserved by the LG for the President’s review, on the pretext that it ‘incidentally’ touches upon the subjects of land, law and order, and police.

Furthermore, the Act adds that on matters specified by the LG, his opinion must be obtained before taking any executive action on the decision of the Delhi Cabinet. This will inevitably lead to delay and inefficiency in governance because for every trivial matter, seeking the prior consent of the LG would become unavoidable. The Act does not provide for a subsequent mechanism on how the elected representatives would function if the LG is not in favour of a particular executive action, nor does it state the time frame within which the LG is authorised to give his opinion.

Our national capital houses the country’s legislature, the seat of the Union Government, the judiciary, diplomatic missions, and other institutions of national importance. It merits smooth functioning and cannot be subject to misadventures arising from the ambiguities in the roles and responsibilities of its stakeholders. Hence, this Bill provides a clear cut division between the LG and the Council of Ministers in the exercise of their respective powers.

However, at the same time, it seems to be less of a facilitator of the LG’s duties and more of a legislative sword that amputates the executive arm of the Delhi Government. The Delhi Government, whose powers are already severely circumscribed, will be forced to make its way through numerous hurdles to govern the megacity. Perhaps the very circumstance of a Union Territory with a Legislative Assembly is oxymoronic and it is time to put an end to this facade. A possible way out could be to abolish the Legislative Assembly in Delhi and give the Centre complete administrative control of the state as had been done from 1956-1993.

It shouldn’t escape our minds that while Delhi belongs to the nation as a whole, it is also inhabited by its very own people.

You must be to comment.
  1. Puranjay Chawla

    Very detailed and what’s best is that it provides views of all sides. Well rounded and a treat to read!

More from Gouri Mehra

Similar Posts

By Pradeep Maurya

By Accountability Initiative

By India Development Review (IDR)

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below