Who should have the last word on governance in Delhi?

What exactly is the bone of contention?

The recent disputes over governance in Delhi takes us back to question the fundamental philosophy of its formation and evolution over time.

Even though Delhi has an elected Legislature having powers over all, save a few State List subjects, the ultimate authority still remains with the GOI, which could override the Delhi Government on any subject.


Does this issue have any historical precedence? Or it’s just a Kejri-Modi battle to the glory?

This is not a new question — the Constituent Assembly witnessed a contested discussion, with Deshbandhu Gupta supporting responsible government, and BR Ambedkar favouring greater control by the GOI owing to Delhi’s status as the national capital.


A quick recap to the present day




What are the possible options to resolve this dispute?

There are three principles that must form the bedrock of formulating a new compact between the Delhi Government and GOI:

  1. Recommendations of Sitaramayya Committee set up by the Constituent Assembly to study this subject, Delhi must have a responsible government.
  2. The principle of subsidiarity must be observed for Delhi as it is observed for all other states. Meaning? 
    • This implies that the municipal corporations and other local bodies in Delhi, must be answerable first and foremost to the Delhi Government and not the GOI.
  3. The overriding power of the GOI which is currently all-pervasive must be re-looked into.

With inputs from the Vidhi Centre For Legal Policy
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