ColumnsThe Government Of National Capital Territory Of Delhi (Amendment) Act 2021 Ashutosh Shekhar Paarcha22 May 2021 1:22 AMShare This – xOn 27th April 2021, after receiving assent of the President, the Government of India enacted the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act 2021 (“Amendment Act”). It was first introduced in the Lok Sabha on 15th March 2021 and was passed by the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on 22nd March 2021 and 24th March 2021 respectively. The Amendment Act aims to resolve the conflict between the two heads of Delhi i.e., the Chief Minister and the Lieutenant Governor, by redefining their powers and functions provided in the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act 1991(“GNCTD Act”).Advertisement Delhi lost its statehood in the year 1956 and became a Union Territory. During this time, the Union Territory of Delhi was administrated by the Delhi Administration Act 1966 and the Delhi Government consisted of Metropolitan Council, comprising of 56 elected members and five nominated members, and a Governor, which was the head of Union Territory of Delhi. In 1991, after the 69th Constitutional Amendment, Union Territory of Delhi acquired a special status of National Capital Territory of Delhi. The amendment added Article 239AA and 239 AB to the Constitution of India which created a provision to form a Constitutional Head, an Elected Head and a Legislative body. Later that same year, a Lieutenant Governor, a Chief Minister and Legislative Assembly started their tenure as administrators of Delhi after the enactment of the GNCTD Act. Advertisement The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act 1991 The GNCTD Act defined the powers and functions of the Lieutenant Governor, Chief Minister and Council of Minister and their day to day administrative functions. Though the said Act aimed to create a balanced federal structure for the capital city, Article 239 and 239 AA of the Constitution created a jurisdictional conflict between Lieutenant Governor and Chief Minister of the NCT of Delhi. As per the said Act, every bill passed by the Legislative Assembly has to be corresponded with the Lieutenant Governor for his approval. This often led to clashing of interests between the constitutional head and executive head of the NCT. Though there have been conflicts between the State Government and the Central Government, in the past, when both were led by different political parties, the friction between the two increased when Narendra Modi led Bhartiya Janta Party (“BJP”) got the hold of Centre and appointed Najeeb Jung as the Lieutenant Governor and Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party (“AAP”) established themselves as the elected Government of Delhi. Important bills, such as the Jan Lokpal Bill, were withheld by the Lieutenant Governor after it was passed by the Delhi Cabinet. In addition to this, several administrative decisions were hampered by the then Lieutenant Governor some of which include annulment of all the bureaucratic postings and vetoing several cabinet orders. This effect on the day-to-day administrative decisions of the Delhi Government raised questions on the ill functioning federal structure of the NCT of Delhi. In 2015, Arvind Kejriwal approached Delhi High Court for the unconstitutional interference of the Lieutenant Governor and argued that there cannot be two reporting authorities. The High Court dismissed the argument and upheld that the Lieutenant Governor is the Constitutional Head of the capital city and he is not bound by the advice of the Council of Ministers.Advertisement Advertisement With an aim to subside the conflict between the powers of the Lieutenant Governor and the Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal further approached the Supreme Court of India which overruled the order of the Delhi High Court. The Constitutional Bench of the Apex Court in GNCT of Delhi v UOI & Ors, observed that federalism is the essence of GNCTD Act and the real power must vest with the elected government. In order to protect the federal spirit of the constitution, the Supreme Court held that the concurrence of Lieutenant Governor on every matter is not essential except in matters related to Police, Public Order and Land. The bench further added that decisions of the Council of Minister will have to be communicated to the Lieutenant Governor and the Lieutenant Governor must function on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. However, the Delhi Government must not forget that Delhi is not a state and should work in close association with the Lieutenant Governor. This decision was made in the light of democratic rights of the people as the approval of the Lieutenant Governor on every matter was defeating the purpose of an elected government.Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act 2021 The Central Government in the Statement of Reasons and Objects of the Bill claimed that the Amendment Act has been enacted in conformity with the 2018 Supreme Court judgment and it further defines the functions of Lieutenant Governor and Chief Minister. This has been done by making the following changes: The Amendment Act alters Section 21, 24, 33 and 44 which deals with Restrictions on laws passed by Legislative Assembly with respect to certain matters, Assent to Bills, Rules of procedure and Conduct of business respectively of the GNCTD Act Section 2 of the Amendment Acts which amends Section 21 states that ‘Government’ in all the laws by the Legislative Assembly will mean the Lieutenant Governor. Earlier the term was used for the Chief Minister and its Council of Ministers.Section 3 of the Amendment Act which amends Section 24, related to the Assent to Bills, states that all the bills passed outside the purview of power vested in Legislative Council will be reserved for the President. Section 4 of the Amendment Act amends Section 33 which transfers all day to day administrative power to Lieutenant Governor which was earlier vested in the Chief Minister.Section 5 the Amendment Act amends Section 44 which makes it mandatory to seek advice of the Lieutenant Governor in all executive decisions of the Council of Ministers. The Amendment Act does not mention the timeline to be followed by Lieutenant Governor for passing the bill or taking any administrative actions. With the above amendments, major portion of the power of the Chief Minister of Delhi has been transferred to the Lieutenant Governor. This results in the stronger hold of the Central Government in administrative matters of the NCT than the elected Government of Delhi. Reasons for Concern The Amendment Act has received barrage of criticism for its undemocratic approach which, as the critics claim, is harming the federal system of India. Federalism is part of the basic structure of the Constitution of India, it provides for dual government at both central and state level. In a democratic state, the people have the right to choose their government on both levels. Transferring the powers of the elected head to an appointed head defeats the purpose of the election of a separate government for Delhi and shifts the power of administration to the Central Government which goes against the essence of GNCTD Act, the verdict of the Supreme Court and the Constitution of India. In March, when the GNCTD Bill was introduced in the parliament, AAP Government criticized the Centre for introducing such an amendment calling it as unconstitutional. The Ministry of Home Affair released statement clarifying that the Amendment Act does not modify any constitutional or legal rights of the elected Government and the administrative changes will help in better governance of the NCT. Pointing out that the amendment is retrogressive and recessive, seventy-six former civil servants have also written to the Supreme Court urging to scrutinize the Act and declare it unconstitutional The National Capital Territory of Delhi has an unprecedented administrative set up now. Not being a State does not mean that the people of NCT will be divested from their democratic right of choosing their own government. This amendment can be seen as a way to control the NCT indirectly by the union government which they could not do with Delhi electorate. It is also an interesting fact that the BJP, which controls the central government was once an advocate of full statehood of Delhi. Views are Personal The Author is an Advocate at the Supreme Court of India. 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Berlin will take a stake in German biotech company CureVac, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said Monday, months after reports the US was eyeing the firm and its under-development coronavirus vaccine.The federal government will invest 300 million euros ($337 million) to take a 23-percent stake in CureVac, based in Tuebingen in southwest Germany.”We don’t know which company will bring the first workable vaccine to market,” Altmaier told reporters in the capital. “But we know that CureVac is among those in the lead.” Topics : ‘Great potential’Billionaire Dietmar Hopp — a co-founder of European software giant SAP — had until now been the major investor in CureVac, holding more than 80 percent of the shares.CureVac’s technology, based on molecules known as “messenger RNA” (mRNA) that are found within the body, offers “great for potential for vaccines for COVID-19 but also many other infectious diseases, as well as therapy options for many other indications,” Hopp told reporters via video link.Vaccines based on mRNA “have the potential to protect people with a very low dose” and do not need to be refrigerated, acting chief executive Franz-Werner Haas added, simplifying the logistics of inoculating large numbers of people.Germany’s CureVac intervention comes days after Berlin, Paris, Rome and The Hague said they had signed an agreement to procure up to 400 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine from pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca.The agreement calls for all EU member states to receive supplies of the vaccine as soon as it is discovered.AstraZeneca is working with Oxford University on a highly-publicized vaccine candidate, with trials on 10,000 participants getting underway. The German government last month gave itself new powers to stop hostile takeovers of healthcare companies, in the latest sign that the global race to secure potentially game-changing vaccines or treatments was heating up.Under the new rules, a health company must notify Berlin if a buyer outside the EU seeks a stake of more than 10 percent — compared with a previous threshold of 25 percent. Die Welt newspaper reported that Berlin’s move was aimed at preventing CureVac from falling into foreign hands as the firm plans a listing on the New York-based Nasdaq stock exchange as early as next month.”It is of particular interest to the state to secure a basic supply of the vaccine for the German population,” Die Welt quoted from a finance ministry document reportedly sent to the German parliament.In March, a different newspaper report alleged that the Trump administration had attempted to buy exclusive rights to CureVac’s vaccine research. Though company and US officials dismissed it as unfounded, the report caused outrage in Berlin and prompted minister Altmaier to declare that “Germany is not for sale”.
CMC – DESPITE having already been eliminated from the knockout stage of the 2019 ICC World Cup, West Indies head coach Floyd Reifer says they will be going all out to defeat Sri Lanka when they face off on Monday.The Windies have won just one match – against Pakistan – and currently sit in ninth position with just three points from their seven games.However, Reifer said the regional side wanted to establish a winning culture, which meant they would be looking to win their two remaining games.“Yes, we are out of the World Cup, but there is still a lot of cricket to play after the World Cup. It’s important for us to, you know, find the winning ways and find the winning formula going forward, so it is important for us to play this game as hard as possible.“We want to create that winning culture. It has to start from somewhere, so we’re going to approach every game in a professional manner. The guys are still up for it. We’re good to go,” Reifer said.“We had a long conversation in the dressing room, so we did a lot of soul-searching. It is important for us and important for the fans in the Caribbean as well, for us to put up the performances, even at the back end of the World Cup.”With Sri Lanka also eliminated following England’s victory over India on Sunday, Reifer said that made little difference to the West Indies.He said the regional team still had a lot to play for.“Our mindset is to win. Obviously, there is a process to winning by playing. You have to bat, bowl and field well. You have to make sure you are on top of your game in all three departments. So, like I said, if the persons are playing a professional game, a game with intent, it is important for us to win, you know.“Like I said at the start, winning ways. We have got to create that winning culture and it can start from here now. We had some good games in the World Cup, but we just need to get the one percenters right. Once we get the one percenters right, then you will see we will get the results,” Reifer said.
President Steven B. Sample, who has guided USC’s ascension through the academic, philanthropic and economic ranks for 19 years, announced Monday he will be stepping down in August.“It has been a calling, an all-consuming passion to move this university ahead farther and faster than any other university in the United States,” Sample said in a statement released by USC. “We have been blessed to have pursued this mission in the company of many colleagues and friends who share our commitment to USC’s advancement. Our years here have simply been exhilarating.”Photo courtesy of USCAnd in fact, Sample arguably has moved the university ahead farther and faster than any other president in the school’s history. During his storied tenure, USC’s acceptance rate has plummeted as SAT scores and qualifications have soared. He has boosted the school’s global outreach — particularly around the Pacific Rim, helped create plans for a dramatic expansion, oversaw the most successful fundraising campaign in higher education history and helped attract more highly qualified faculty members than ever before.USC’s endowment — though it has slipped a bit in the last year — grew to nearly $4 billion under Sample. Seven professional schools were named for donors in the past 10 years. And five donations of more than $100 million — the most of that size to any school — have been given. As Vice President for Student Affairs Michael L. Jackson said, Sample will be missed.“President Sample will be remembered as one of America’s greatest and visionary university leaders,” Jackson wrote in an email. “Under his guidance and pursuit of excellence, USC has become an international powerhouse that students from all around the globe want to attend … We will miss him.”Under Sample’s leadership, USC has transformed into a renowned research university with a wide reach. Not only has the quality of the student body improved, but the increasingly academic focus has made the school more attractive to both students and faculty.“Steven Sample has been a transformative leader for USC,” Alexander Capron, president of the faculty, wrote in an email. “The university his successor will inherit is radically different than the one President Sample found when he arrived two decades ago from Buffalo [N.Y.]. From the faculty viewpoint, he set up a virtuous cycle: Better students led to a better reputation and more resources.”The students are undeniably more qualified. SAT scores have risen 300 points over Sample’s 19-year tenure. The graduation rate has jumped from around 60 percent to nearly 90 percent. USC now enrolls 232 National Merit Scholars; 19 years ago, it hosted just 33.These more academically accomplished students, also come from a wider variety of geographical locations. As a result, USC has been transformed from a commuter campus to a residential one.“The faculty have benefited from USC becoming ‘The Living University,’ with increasingly residential and vibrant campuses, deep engagement with the community, the region and the world, and a clear recognition of the need for greater sustainability in all we do,” Capron wrote.Though the university community has expanded to encompass students from across the world — USC boasts the largest international population of any school — President Sample kept focus on the community close to home, too.Sample oversaw the creation of the Good Neighbors Program, which asks faculty and staff to donate a portion of their salaries to community outreach programs. He also spearheaded the development of the Master Plan, which will guide USC’s development during the next 30 years. William Tierney, the director of USC’s Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis, said this is one of Sample’s top achievements.“His major accomplishments include reframing how universities should work with local communities, rethinking what students should major in and study, and providing faculty and staff with a strategic direction and a sense of optimism,” Tierney wrote in an email.These steps — bettering academics, economics and outreach — have faculty members believing Sample’s time at USC will not soon be forgotten.“Sample has done an incomparable job of bringing this university into the front ranks of American higher education,” Geneva Overholser, director of the Annenberg School of Journalism, wrote in an email. “The advances, both academically and fiscally, during his long tenure have been extraordinary. He’s earned a change of pace, for sure, and it will be exciting to see what the next chapter brings.”Tierney added that he thinks Sample will be known as one of the top five university presidents of the past half-century.With the announcement of his retirement, the Board of Trustees will begin searching for the university’s next president. The Los Angeles Times reported that Executive Vice President and Provost C.L. Max Nikias is one of the top contenders.Board of Trustees Chairman Edward P. Roski Jr. said choosing Sample’s successor will be no small task.“Dr. Sample has engineered the most dramatic rise in quality and ranking of any American university,” Roski said in a press release. “From the very start he understood the entrepreneurial zeal of USC and fueled our desire to be excellent … And the results have been nothing short of spectacular. Filling his shoes will be a big job for the trustees.”Sample will be missed not just because of his contributions to the university, but also because of his personal character.“Not only is he a brilliant leader, he is kind and makes you feel that you can accomplish anything if you stay focused,” Jackson wrote. “He leaves a great legacy and it is our responsibility to build on it so that future generations of Trojans can benefit from the resources of our great university.”