The 69th Amendment of the Indian Constitution is a key milestone that significantly impacted the administrative and constitutional status of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi. It is a legislative benchmark that provided Delhi with a special status among the union territories of India.
The 69th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1991:
Enacted in 1991, the 69th Amendment introduced two new Articles – 239AA and 239AB – in the Indian Constitution, bestowing the Union Territory of Delhi a new title – the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCTD).
Article 239AA provided for a special provision regarding the administration of the NCTD. It established a Legislative Assembly that had the ability to formulate laws on certain matters in the State List and the Concurrent List, except on issues related to public order, police, and land.
Article 239AB gave the provision for applying President’s rule in the NCTD, similar to the states of India.
Impact on the Governance of NCTD:
This amendment marked the inception of a democratically elected Legislative Assembly and a Lieutenant Governor in Delhi, paving the way for a quasi-state structure.
While the Lieutenant Governor was appointed as an administrator in the capacity of a President’s nominee, the Legislative Assembly was vested with the power to legislate on all subjects except those pertaining to the police, public order, and land.
The governance of Delhi has since been a shared responsibility between the Central government and the NCTD government, which has sometimes led to tussles over administrative and legislative control.
The 69th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1991, has been a defining regulation influencing the governance structure in Delhi. Despite offering Delhi a distinct administrative model, it has also engendered debates and legal battles over the distribution of power. It underlines the constitutional challenge of maintaining a balance between the federal structure of the nation and unique demands of the national capital.