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Full Statehood to Delhi: What’s the Issue?

Full Statehood to Delhi: What’s the Issue?

The current confrontation between Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal started in 2015 notification of the Union Home Ministry. Delhi gov is demanding full statehood.

Delhi and Statehood

  • In 1952, Delhi belonged to the category of Part C states (the Constitution of India recognised three types of states – Part A, Part B and Part C), and had a Legislative Assembly and a chief minister. Then too, the chief minister did not have control over the police, including the Railway Police, land and buildings, but also over public utilities, sanitation, and water supply and so on. Following the reorganisation of states, Delhi was declared a Union Territory in 1956, and its Assembly and the post of chief minister were scrapped. The Chief Commissioner became the sole overseer of Delhi’s governance.
  • In 1966, the Chief Commissioner was styled Lieutenant Governor, and a Metropolitan Council and an Executive Council was added to the structure of governance. The Metropolitan Council could not legislate on its own, but only make recommendations. Likewise, the aid and advice of the Executive Council, whose four members belonged to the Metropolitan Council, was not binding on the Lieutenant Governor.
  • In 1990, Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed introduced the Constitution (72nd Amendment) Bill to grant statehood to Delhi, which was to be called the Capital State of Delhi. This bill too lapsed.
  • Finally, through the 69th Constitution Amendment Act, 1991, Delhi got a popularly elected Assembly and a chief minister.

Present Status of Delhi

  • Presently, Delhi enjoys the character of a special Union Territory that has some unique institutions like an elected Legislative Assembly and a High Court.
  • In 1991, the Parliament, through the 69th amendment, introduced Article 239AA (Special Provisions with respect to Delhi) and conferred the right upon the people of the NCT of Delhi to elect their own legislature and government to make laws under certain entries of the state list of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and execute these laws respectively.
  • This amendment, however, did not confer full statehood upon Delhi and powers with respect to public order, land and police remained with the Union government.

Way Ahead

  • Full statehood will definitely bring better opportunities for the residents of Delhi and financial increments for the government’s budget but not without its own share of responsibilities like provision of top security infrastructure for law & order and internal security
  • From the point of view of the citizens of Delhi, what matters is that systems are transparent and day-to-day work is attended to. This does not need statehood—only good governance.

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