Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2022 – Implications

Context:

• The Union Government has proposed for the unification of the three municipal corporations, the Central government has conferred upon itself various crucial powers from the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2022.

Background:

• With the passing of the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2022 the centre which has usurped many powers upon itself has put the principle of federalism at stake.
• The central government claims that the change was made in accordance with Article 239AA of the Constitution, which grants special status to Delhi.
• The law is based on Parliament’s competence under Article 239AA(3)(b) to create laws for the State of Delhi “on any topic,” according to Union Home Minister.
• The law states that the Central government would now have the authority to decide the number of wards, the size of each ward, seat reservations, the number of seats in the Corporation, and other matters.
• The number of councillor seats in the Delhi Municipal Corporations will also be set by the central government at this time.

Federalism at stake:

• The central government has opted to ignore Part IXA of the Constitution, which specifies that only the state legislature has the authority to create legislation affecting municipal representation.
• The Centre’s claim that Article 239AA can be applied over and above Part IXA of the Constitution is flawed since Part IXA is a special statute that will override the general law applicable to Article 239AA.
• Furthermore, the Seventy-Fourth Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992 inserted Part IXA of the Constitution regulating municipalities, succeeding the Sixty-Ninth Amendment Act of 1991 that inserted Article 239AA.

Challenges Ahead:

• The Constitution mandates a federal balance in which state governments are guaranteed a certain level of independence.
• The amendment to the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 will lead to more litigation on the issue of a sharing of powers between the State of NCT of Delhi and the Central government, as opposed to centralism, which mandates that the Union does not usurp all powers and the States enjoy freedom without any unsolicited interference from the Central Government with respect to matters which exclusively fall within their domain.
• The amendment to the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 will lead to more litigation on the issue of a sharing of powers between the State of NCT of The Centre’s meddling in subjects such as municipal affairs is a blow to federalism and the famed Indian model of decentralisation.

Source: THE HINDU.

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