Delhi Full Statehood Issue

Delhi Full Statehood Issue

The structural fragility of Union Territories


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Article 239A

Mains level : Paper 2- Structural flaws in the composition of legislature of UTs

The article deals with the structural flaws in the provisions of the composition of legislature and the relationship between the council of ministers and the Administrator in the UTs.

Pattern in the resignations of MLAs

  • Recently, the resignations of MLAs from the Puducherry Assembly led to the fall of government there.
  • The same had happened in 2019 in Karnataka.
  • Resigning from the membership of the House is every member’s right.
  • But according to Article 190 of the Constitution, the resignation should be voluntary or genuine.
  • If the Speaker has information to the contrary, he or she is not obliged to accept the resignation.
  • But there is by now a familiar pattern to the resignations of Members of the Legislative Assembly.
  • Such resignations invariably lead to the fall of the government.

Purpose of providing legislature to UTs

  • The Constitution-makers/ Parliament provided a legislature and Council of Ministers to some of the UTs to fulfil the democratic aspirations of the people of these territories.
  • There was a realisation that the administration of these territories directly by the President through the administrators under Article 239 does not meet the democratic aspirations of the people.
  • The creation of a legislature and a Council of Ministers is logical and in consonance with the policy of the state to promote democracy.

Structural issues with legislature in UTs

1) Nomination of members and issues with it

  • A closer look at the relevant provisions in the Constitution reveals that this professed aim has often been sought to be defeated by the Union.
  • Article 239A was originally brought in, in 1962, to enable Parliament to create legislatures for the UTs.
  • A legislature without a Council of Ministers or a Council of Ministers without a legislature is a conceptual absurdity.
  • Similarly, a legislature that is partly elected and partly nominated is another absurdity.
  • The issue of nomination of members to the Puducherry Assembly had raised a huge controversy.
  • The Government of Union Territories Act provides for a 33-member House for Puducherry of whom three are to be nominated by the Central government.
  • So, when the Union government nominated three BJP members to the Assembly without consulting the government, it was challenged in the court.
  • Finally, the Supreme Court (K. Lakshminarayanan v. Union of India, 2019) held that the Union government is not required to consult the State government for nominating members to the Assembly and the nominated members have the same right to vote as the elected members.
  • There is provision for nomination of members to the Rajya Sabha [Article 80 (i)(a)].
  • But clause (3) of the Article specifies the fields from which they will be nominated.
  • But in the case of nomination to the Puducherry Assembly, no such qualification is laid down either in Article 239A or the Government of Union Territories Act.
  • This leaves the field open for the Union government to nominate anyone irrespective of whether he or she is suitable.
  •  As things stand, the law invites arbitrariness in dealing with the nomination of members to the UT legislature.

2) Administrator’s powers

  • The administrator has the right to disagree with the decisions of the Council of Ministers and then refer them to the President for a final decision.
  • The President decides on the advice of the Union government.
  • So, in effect, it is the Union government which finally determines the disputed issue.
  • Although in NCT of Delhi v. Union of India (2019), the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had said that the administrator should not misuse this power.
  • The bench also said that the Administrator should use it after all methods have failed to reconcile the differences between him/her and the Council of Ministers.
  • As a matter of fact, such conflicts between the administrator, who is the nominee of the President, and the elected government is inherent in the constitutional arrangement created for the UTs.

Consider the question “The conflicts between the administrator, who is the nominee of the President and the elected government is inherent in the constitutional arrangement created for the UTs. Comment.”


Experience shows that the UTs having legislatures with ultimate control vested in the central administrator are not workable. So far as the conspiratorial resignation by legislators to bring down their own government is concerned, the political class will have to get the better of the predatory instincts of political parties through constitutional or other means.

Delhi Full Statehood Issue

Bill coming on Delhi government and L-G functions


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Art. 239AA

Mains level : Delhi govt. - LG power tussle

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is all set to introduce legislation to amend a 1991 Act pertaining to the powers and functions of the Delhi government and the Lieutenant Governor (LG).

What is the new bill?

  • The Bill is likely to clearly define the powers of the LG and the Delhi government on the lines of the Supreme Court judgment of February 2019.
  • It is likely to give more teeth to the LG’s office.

Why need such a law?

  • The Delhi UT government is often at loggerheads with the Centre on administrative matters in the Capital.

What made it to the news?

  • A Supreme Court Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan had, other than the question of services, given a unanimous verdict on the role of the two authorities.
  • In the February 14, 2019 verdict, the court upheld as “legal” the MHA’s 2015 notifications authorising the LG to exercise powers in relation to services.
  • It had directed the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) police not to take cognizance of offences against Central government officials.

SC confirms HC findings

  • The apex court confirmed the Delhi High Court’s finding that the ACB’s jurisdiction is confined to Delhi officials and statutory bodies and does not extend to Central government officials.
  • Last year, the MHA notified the rules for the newly created UT of J&K, where it provided a solution in case of difference of opinion between the LG and a Minister.
  • It ruled that if no agreement could be reached even after a month, the decision of the Lieutenant Governor shall be deemed to have been accepted by the Council of Ministers.

What are the key propositions?

  • According to changes proposed in the new Act, the LG could act in his discretion in any matter that is beyond the purview of the powers of the Assembly of Delhi.
  • This would be in matters related to the All India (Civil) Services and the ACB.

Back2Basics: Special Status for New Delhi

  • Article 239AA of the Constitution of India granted Special Status to Delhi among Union Territories (UTs) in the year 1991 through 69th constitutional amendment.
  • It provided a Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers responsible to such Assembly with appropriate powers.
  • That’s when Delhi was named as National Capital Region (NCT) of Delhi.
  • As per this article – Public Order, Police & Land in NCT of Delhi fall within the domain and control of Central Government which shall have the power to make laws on these matters.
  • For remaining matters of State List or Concurrent List, in so far as any such matter is applicable to UTs, the Legislative Assembly shall have the power to make laws for NCT of Delhi.

Delhi Full Statehood Issue

New Bill on powers of Delhi government, Lieutenant Governor


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Art. 239AA

Mains level : Special provisions for NCT

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is likely to introduce legislation in the ongoing Parliament session to amend a 1991 Act pertaining to the powers and function of the Delhi government and the Lieutenant Governor.

Try this PYQ:

Q. Consider the following statements

  1. Union territories are not represented in the Rajya Sabha.
  2. It is within the purview of the Chief Election Commissioner to adjudicate the election disputes.
  3. According to the constitution of India, the Parliament consists of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha only.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

(a) Only 1

(b) 2 and 3

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) None

Key propositions of the Bill

  • The Bill proposes to clearly spell out the functions of the Council of Ministers and the Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) by giving more discretionary powers to the L-G.
  • As per the Bill, the L-G could act in his discretion in any matter that is beyond the purview of the powers of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi in matters related to the All India (Civil) Services and the Anti Corruption Branch.
  • It will also give more teeth to the L-G, and the validity of any decision taken as per such discretion shall not be questioned.

Back2Basics: Special provisions for New Delhi

  • The Union Territory of Delhi with a Legislative Assembly came into being in 1991 under Article 239AA of the Constitution inserted by ‘the Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991’.
  • It said that the UT of Delhi shall be called the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
  • The administrator thereof appointed under Article 239 shall be designated as the Lieutenant-Governor.
  • According to the existing Act, the Legislative Assembly of Delhi has the power to make laws in all matters except public order, police, and land.

Delhi Full Statehood Issue

Jurisdictional conflict in the running of Delhi Government


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Article 239AA and Article 239AB

Mains level : Paper 2- Conflict between Lt. Governor and the Delhi Government

The article analyses the tussle between the Delhi Government and the Lt. Governor.

What the 2018 SC judgement was about

  • The Supreme Court in Government of NCT of Delhi vs. Union of India (2018) decided on the conflicts between the government of NCT and the Union Government and its representative, the Lieutenant Governor.
  • It reminds the Lt. Governor what his real functions are.
  •  It tells the State government that it should remember that Delhi is a special category Union Territory.
  • It lays down the parameters to enabling the harmonious functioning of the government and the Lt. Governor.
  • It did not very clearly delineate the issues in respect of which the Lt. Governor can refer a decision taken by the Council of Ministers to the President in the event of a difference of opinion between the Lt. Governor and the State government.

Settled issues and clarifications

  • The Supreme Court affirming that the Lt. Governor is bound to act on the aid and advice of council of ministers except in respect of ‘Land’, ‘Public Order’ and the ‘Police’.
  • The Court has also made it clear that there is no requirement of the concurrence of the Lt. Governor and that he has no power to overrule the decisions of the State government.
  • However, Article 239AA (4) (proviso) which says that in the case of a difference of opinion between the Lt. Governor and his Ministers on any matter, the Lt. Governor shall refer it to the President for decision and act according to that decision.
  • If the Lt. Governor thinks that the matter is urgent he can take immediate action on his own.

How Article 239 AA(4) matters

  •  Lt. Governor can frustrate the efforts of the government, by declaring that there is a difference of opinion on any issue and refer it to the President.
  • Refering matter to the President in reality means the Union Home Ministry.
  • The Lt. Governor being its representative, it is easier for him to secure a decision in his favour.
  • The State government will be totally helpless in such a situation.
  • The recent appointment of prosecutors for conducting the Delhi riot cases in the High Court is a case in point.
  •  When the government decided to appoint them, the Lt. Governor referred it under proviso to Article 239AA (4) to the President stating that there is a difference of opinion.
  • This episode clearly points to the fault lines which still exist in the power equations in the capital’s administrative structure.

But, can Lt. Governor refer routine administrative matter to the President?

  • A close reading of the Supreme Court judgment in the NCT Delhi case (supra) would reveal that he cannot.
  • The Supreme Court says “The words ‘any matter’ employed in the proviso to Article 239AA (4) cannot be inferred to mean ‘every matter’.
  • Court also says that “The power of the Lieutenant Governor under the said proviso represents the exception and not the general rule”.
  • The President is the highest Constitutional authority and his decision should be sought only on constitutionally important issues.

Executive powers and legislative powers

  • Parliament can legislate for Delhi on any matter in the State List and the Concurrent List.
  • But the executive power in relation to Delhi except the ‘Police’, ‘Land’ and ‘Public Orders’ vests only in the State government headed by the Chief Minister.
  • The executive power of the Union does not extend to any of the matters which come within the jurisdiction of the Delhi Assembly.
  • The only occasion when the Union Government can overrule the decision of the State government is when the Lt. Governor refers a matter to the President under the proviso to clause (4).

Consider the question “What are the parameters laid down by the Supreme Court in the Government of NCT of Delhi vs. Union of India (2018) to avoid the conflict between Lt. Governor and the Delhi Government? Also examine the scope of referring any matter to the consideration of the President by the Lt. Governor.”


In the Constitutional scheme adopted for the NCT of Delhi Lt. Governor should not emerge as an adversary having a hostile attitude towards the Council of Ministers of Delhi; rather, he should act as a facilitator.

Delhi Full Statehood Issue

[op-ed of the day] The primacy of the elected


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing MUch

Mains level : Puducherry Governance Crisis should be resolved as soon as possible.

Note- Op-ed of the day is the most important editorial of the day. Aspirants should try to cover at least this editorial on a daily basis to have command over most important issues in news. It will help in enhancing and enriching the content in mains answers. Please do not miss at any cost.


1.Federalism Endangered

Dismantling the Planning Commission and transferring its power to make state grants to the Finance Ministry; introducing terms of reference to the Finance Commission which threaten to lower the revenue share of the southern States; and the partisan use of the Governor’s office to appoint Chief Ministers in cases of hung Assemblies.

2.President’s Rule

  • The most blatant abuse of power was the imposition of President’s Rule in Opposition-ruled Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, decisions the Supreme Court subsequently held as unconstitutional.
  • Further, through the Lieutenant Governor (LG), the Centre ran a protracted war with the Delhi government which brought its administration to a stalemate until the Supreme Court affirmed the primacy of the elected government.
  • A similar long-running battle between the LG and Chief Minister of Puducherry has now reached the Supreme Court.

Distinct provisions in Puducherry


  • Since the appointment of Kiran Bedi as the LG in May 2016, Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy has protested her continual interference in the daily affairs of the Puducherry government and running an alleged parallel administration.
  • When this was legally challenged, the Madras High Court quashed the clarifications issued by the Union government and ruled that the LG must work on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers and not interfere in the day-to-day affairs of the government.
  • The Union government challenged this decision in the Supreme Court where a vacation Bench passed interim orders recently restricting the Puducherry cabinet from taking key decisions until further hearing.

Puducherry and Delhi comparison

  • Puducherry, like Delhi, is a Union Territory with an elected legislative Assembly and the executive constituted by the Lieutenant Governor and Council of Ministers.
  • However, Puducherry and Delhi derive their powers from distinct constitutional provisions.

1.Article 239 A and 239 AA-

While Article 239AA lays out the scope and limits of the powers of the legislative assembly and council of ministers for Delhi, Article 239A is merely an enabling provision which allows Parliament to create a law for Puducherry.

No restrictions – Interestingly, while Article 239AA restricts Delhi from creating laws in subjects such as police, public order and land, no such restriction exists for Puducherry under Article 239A.

Broader lawmaking power than Delhi – In fact, the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963 which governs Puducherry vests the legislative assembly with the power to make laws on “any of the matters enumerated in the State List or the Concurrent List”. Hence, the legislative and executive powers of Puducherry are actually broader than that of Delhi.

2.Limited power of LG –

After analysing the laws and rules governing Puducherry, the Madras High Court held that the LG has very limited independent powers.

Article 239B – Under Article 239B, the LG can issue an ordinance only when the Assembly is not in session and with the prior approval of the President.

On the difference of opinion – If there is a “difference of opinion” between the LG and the cabinet on “any matter”, like in Delhi, the LG can refer it to the President or resolve it herself if it is expedient.

Only in exceptional” situations – However, the Supreme Court in the NCT Delhi case held that “any matter” shall not mean “all matters” and it should be used only for “exceptional” situations. Hence, there is no legal basis for the LG to exercise powers independently and bypass the elected government of Puducherry.

Way Forward

Respecting federalism

Primacy of elected government – The Supreme Court, in the NCT Delhi case, rightly employed a purposive interpretation of the Constitution to hold that since representative government is a basic feature of the Constitution, the elected government must have primacy.

Upholding High Court’s Order – Given this precedent and the fact that Puducherry has lesser legal restrictions on its powers, the Supreme Court should uphold the Madras High Court judgment and ensure that the LG acts only as per the aid and advice of the elected government.

Upholding Federalism –  While Puducherry may not be a “State” under the Constitution, the principle of federalism should not be restricted to States but also include the legislative Assemblies of Union Territories and, arguably, councils of local governments.


As more centralising measures such as simultaneous elections to Parliament and State Assemblies are being proposed by the Centre, it is important to reaffirm the values of federalism at every forum.

Delhi Full Statehood Issue

[op-ed snap] Power shift


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Lt. Governor

Mains level : Madras High Court Judgement will resolve power tussle in Puducherry.


The Madras High Court verdict that the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry should not interfere in the day-to-day administration of the Union Territory is a serious setback to the incumbent Administrator, Kiran Bedi. She has been locked in a prolonged dispute over the extent of her powers with Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy, who says she has been disregarding the elected regime and seeking to run the Union Territory on her own.


1. Decisions are Binding on officials -The court has laid down that “the decision taken by the Council of Ministers and the Chief Minister is binding on the Secretaries and other officials.”

2. Inspired by Supreme Court –  Inspired by the Supreme Court’s appeal to constitutional morality and trust among high dignitaries, the High Court has also reminded the Centre and the Administrator that they should be true to the concept of democratic principles, lest the constitutional scheme based on democracy and republicanism be defeated.

3. L-G has no independent decision-making powers –

  • The judgment is based  in last year’s Constitution Bench decision on the conflict between the elected regime in the National Capital Territory (NCT) and its Lt.Governor.
  • The five-judge Bench had ruled that the L-G has to either act on the ‘aid and advice’ of the Council of Ministers, or refer to the President for a decision any matter on which there is a difference with the Ministry, but has no independent decision-making powers.
  • The High Court also says the Administrator is bound by the ‘aid and advice’ clause in matters over which the Assembly is competent to enact laws.
  • The L-G’s power to refer any matter to the President to resolve differences should not mean “every matter”, the court has cautioned.

Difference between Delhi and Puducherry

1. The difference in status – Justice R. Mahadevan, who delivered the Madras High Court judgment, is conscious of the difference in status between Delhi and Puducherry.

2. Constitutional and parliamentary Law – The Puducherry legislature is the creation of a parliamentary law, based on an enabling provision in Article 239A of the Constitution, whereas the NCT legislature has been created by the Constitution itself under Article 239AA.

3. NCT is sui generis – The Supreme Court had described the NCT as sui generis. At the same time, the NCT Assembly is limited in the extent of its legislative powers, as it is barred from dealing with the subjects of public order, police and land.

More Power to representative Government

  • However, looking at the Business Rules as well as other statutory provisions on Puducherry, the judge has sought to give greater credence to the concept of a representative government.
  • He has set aside two clarifications issued by the Centre in 2017 to the effect that the L-G enjoys more power than the Governor of a State and can act without aid and advice.
  • In view of the Constitution Bench judgment on Delhi, he has differed with another Madras High Court decision of 2018 in which the LG’s power to act irrespective of the Cabinet’s advice was upheld.


In the event that the latest judgment is taken up on appeal, a key question may be how far the decision of the five-judge Bench on the limits of the Delhi L-G’s powers would indeed apply to Puducherry.

Delhi Full Statehood Issue

LG’s role in Puducherry


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : LG: Powers and Functions

Mains level : LG of Puducherry vs. LG of Delhi

  • The Madras High Court has that the Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) of Puducherry could not interfere with the day-to-day administration of the Union Territory when an elected government was in place.
  • The court said incessant interference from the L-G would amount to running a “parallel government.”

What did the court say?

  • The Central government as well as the Administrator [the term used in the Constitution to refer to the Lieutenant-Governor] should be true to the concept of democratic principles.
  • Otherwise, the constitutional scheme of the country of being democratic and republic would be defeated.
  • The judge made it clear that government secretaries were bound to take instructions from the ministers concerned and the Council of Ministers, headed by the CM, besides reporting to them on official matters.
  • The secretaries are not empowered to issue orders on their own or upon the instructions of the Administrator.

There lies a difference: Delhi and Puducherry

  • The court also went on to point out the differences between the powers conferred on the legislatures of Puducherry and Delhi under Articles 239A and 239AA of the Constitution.
  • The court said though Article 239AA imposes several restrictions on the legislature of Delhi, no such restrictions had been imposed explicitly in the case of Puducherry under Article 239A.
  • While the LG of Delhi is also guided by the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991, and the Transaction of Business of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Rules, 1993, the LG of Puducherry is guided mostly by the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963.


LG of Puducherry Vs. LG of Delhi

  • The LG of Delhi enjoys greater powers than the LG of Puducherry.
  • The LG of Delhi has “Executive Functions” that allow him to exercise his powers in matters connected to public order, police and land “in consultation with the Chief Minister.
  • Under the constitutional scheme, the Delhi Assembly has the power to legislate on all subjects except law and order and land.
  • However, the Puducherry Assembly can legislate on any issue under the Concurrent and State Lists.
  • However, if the law is in conflict with a law passed by Parliament, the law passed by Parliament prevails.

Delhi Full Statehood Issue

[op-ed snap] Re-imagining Delhi


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions & basic structure

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Note important features of Delhi Exceptionalism and ways to resolve the long standing crisis.



The battle over the legislative and executive control of the National Capital Territory of Delhi remains unresolved.

Court’s Verdict

  • The split verdict by a two-judge bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan has, in essence, affirmed the power of the Union government (through the office of the lieutenant governor) over the elected state government on crucial matters.
  • The Centre remains the cadre-controlling authority in Delhi and the Delhi Anti Corruption Branch cannot investigate central government officers.
  • The two judges, however, differed on whether the state government can manage cadre below the rank of joint secretary and the matter will now be referred to a larger bench.

Factors responsible for the conflict

  • The State government  has been choosing spectacle and agitation over quiet and patient negotiation.
  • The Centre, through successive LGs and the home ministry, has tried to hobble a government with an impressive mandate using Delhi’s constitutional peculiarity.
  • It’s legally a Union Territory with an elected government whose powers are circumscribed.
  • Both the current Union and Delhi governments enjoy impressive mandates. Unfortunately, instead of using their opportunity to bring in a much-needed redefinition of the division of powers, they have passed the buck to the courts.
  • Delhi’s exceptionalism, the power imbalance in favour of the Centre, emerges from the needs of a national capital — the seat of government and power, the nerve centre of administration.

Approaching Solution

  • It is only through a mature politics that the root cause of the over-politicisation of governance.
  • The courts are limited by the letter of the law, by the contours of the distribution of powers laid down in the Constitution and previous judgments.
  • Delhi needs is a bold re-imagination of the skewed federal contract that currently determines its executive and legislative boundaries.
  • The tussle between the Centre and state, between the people and the law, can only be addressed through a new idea of statehood, one which recognises that sovereignty ultimately derives from the people.


A mature discussion between stakeholders that looks beyond short-term political gains holds the potential to resolve the embedded contradiction.


Should Delhi be given statehood?

  • Why in news?
  • Background
  • What is the present status of Delhi?
  • Arguments favoring statehood in Delhi
  • Why not to give statehood?
  • The way ahead

Why in news?

Recently Supreme Court has sought more clarity on the scope and boundaries of the relationship between the Delhi government and the Centre as at times, both the Centre and Delhi government contest each other’s right to administer and govern the National Capital and demands have been raised to give statehood to Delhi.


The elected governments have time and again felt crippled in decision-making as the assembly does not have powers like other state assemblies. All political parties that have been in power in Delhi have lamented this and raised the demand for full statehood for the national capital.

What is the 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.

Argument favoring statehood to Delhi

  • Two power centres create confusion

In the current system, power is divided between the chief minister and the Central government through the LG. This dual control creates an inherent tension between the two power centres.

  • Union government exercises immense authority

Though Delhi Assembly is given the powers to govern and make laws on all but three subjects – public order, police and land but the Union government has been violating this constitutional provision and has been exercising authority on several subjects.

  • Law & order should be the state government’s responsibility

Delhi Police reports to the Union Home ministry and this ties their hands in ensuring maintenance of law and order in the capital. To avoid the tussle, the Centre can create and deploy a central police force for guarding its buildings and for diplomatic duties. For law and order duties, Delhi’s elected government must be in full command.

  • Delhi’s land cannot be under Centre’s control

The Delhi government cannot decide on its own the use that the city’s land should be put to. This leads to conflict at times.

  • Delhi does not have its own officers

Each state of India has its own Public Service Commission that recruits bureaucrats to run the state government’s administrative machinery. Delhi, being a Union territory, does not have a cadre of officers of its own and is part of a common cadre shared with other UTs.

  • It is argued that if Delhi had its own cadre, like all states have, the impasse between the offices of the CM and the LG would not have arisen.
  • National capitals all over the world have sufficient powers
  • Experts say even if some national capitals like Washington DC, London and Paris are not states, all of them have a governance structure that gives the local government legislative, financial and administrative powers. Delhi has none of these.
  • As Delhi expands, clarity over jurisdiction of the local government will become increasingly imperative.
  • Some experts have argued that the assembly should be dissolved and the Centre be given full charge of the national capital. However, the abolition of an assembly once created will mean taking away the democratic rights of the people.

Why not to give the statehood?

  • Delhi is different than other UTs because as the nation’s capital, it must reflect the best that the country offers. And that is only possible if land-use, zoning plans and building regulations are managed in consonance with the standards expected of a capital city. Parallels cannot be drawn with state capitals like Mumbai, Bangalore or Chennai (although that is constantly being done).
  • Statehood would bring land allocation under the city government, whose concern for the country’s capital would yield to satiating local demands.
  • In the national capital, the protection of dignitaries and the maintenance of public order are the highest priorities. The upkeep of maximum standards of security is how the safety of the capital is judged. An attack on a Union minister or diplomat would guarantee an ‘unsafe’ tag not just for Delhi but the country. So, police cannot be kept solely in the hands of state government.
  • An important point against the grant of statehood to the Delhi is the inability of its city government to bear the cost of police salaries and the pension liabilities of all city government employees, which are today borne entirely by the Centre.
  • It would weaken the case for delegation of authority under various statutes which is feasible and a necessity.

What’s the 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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