Delhi is not a full state. Delhi is not a half state either. Delhi is not even a quasi-state. Delhi is just a centrally administered territory with its own Chief Minister and state assembly. The Delhi Assembly lacks the authority to make laws on three items on the state list of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution which are:
- Public order
Even on the subjects that come under Delhi Government’s purview, it doesn’t have the full authority. Any law passed by the Delhi Assembly can be nullified by Parliamentary legislation.
The Lieutenant Governor enjoys powers as an intercessor of the President of India in every matter that concerns Delhi. It has all the powers in case of services. The L-G just needs to keep the CM and his council of ministers ‘informed’. In spite of being democratically elected, The Chief Minister and council of ministers have to assist the L-G according to the provisions of the Constitution.
(All of this information has been sourced from the statements of Subhash Kashyap, an expert on the Indian Constitution and a former secretary general of the Lok Sabha and its secretariat)
So we see how center has an overarching command over the Delhi government and the Delhi Government regardless of the numbers it has in the assembly will always play a secondary role. It is a touch unfair for the CM of Delhi to be so powerless and literally at the mercy of higher powers. Should Delhi be a full state or not is an oft-repeated question? There are some strong arguments against it and there are some very strong arguments in favor of it. Of course it is the capital of India. It houses so many important buildings. It has the supreme court of India, the parliament house, the prime minister’s residence, the president house, state houses, foreign embassies and headquarters of so many government bodies. Delhi witnesses the highest number of foreign diplomats and dignitaries. The fact that it is also one of the most populous places in India (as far as population density is concerned) makes the situation far more complex. Hence it is fairly clear that the center cannot leave the Delhi to the state government’s mercy BUT if suitable provisions are made and necessary changes are incorporated, the Center Government can loosen its hold a bit. In all, the demand for full statehood for Delhi is NOT unfair. Kejriwal has been raising this issue painstakingly. The provision for full statehood for Delhi also featured in the manifestos of Congress and the BJP. Why the delay then?
In my humble opinion (based upon the current series of events) Full statehood for Delhi is required but it is a dangerous proposition till the time Arvind Kejriwal is the chief minister of Delhi. And there are a number of reasons for it.
Kejriwal is still to establish his credentials as an able administrator. His knee-jerk rejoinders and belligerent attitude towards the Delhi LG has not helped his cause. Delhi bureaucrats have been on the receiving end of Kejriwal’s ire as well. The general perception in Delhi’s bureaucratic circles is that Kejriwal is an intolerant man who is beyond reasoning. The way he ordered the room of a principal secretary to be locked up was juvenile. The fact that dozens of senior officials applied for leave as Kejriwal’s onslaught on them began makes this point amply clear that Kejriwal likes working only with “his” men.
And listen to what his accomplices say:
“Delhi has some of the most corrupt officials in the world. Only such people are against us. The others are with us, we are doing very well as a government in fixing water problems, power woes, and corruption and so on. Only those who visit places where the poor live, like Sangam Vihar, will see the real change. The water mafia is disappearing. The poor are able to live better. Of course, much more needs to be done and we will do it.”
No prizes for guessing who may have made such sweeping statements and tall claims. Ashutosh, of course.
Government runs on the wheels of efficient bureaucracy. If the head of the state turns against them, sparks are sure to fly. Idea of Full statehood for Delhi killed right there.
The way Municipal Corporation of Delhi strikes were handled was reprehensible. The wages for the MCD workers were released (by the L-G) only when Delhi reached at the verge of an epidemic. The capital of India was left rotting while the Government was busy cutting ribbons for populist schemes. Idea of Full statehood for Delhi killed again. And then Delhi Government was contemplating over sending defamation notices to “not-so-friendly-media-houses”. Delhi Government decided to induct five police officers from Bihar into the Anti-Corruption Branch without the approval of the L-G. Unprofessional administration at its best. Idea of Full statehood for Delhi demolished.
In the end I would like to say that the Idea of Full statehood for Delhi is without a doubt, a good idea and in the long term it will be a rewarding decision. But under the ever-so-mercurial CM of Delhi, Mr. Arvind Kejriwal it is as scary a provision as it can get. But opinions are a variable function of time. Mine too can change if Kejriwal switches to administration rather than mainstream gimmickry.
Get real time updates about our posts directly on your device