Special Status of Delhi


The article primarily puts focus on the squabble between the government of Delhi and the Union. It shares views on the different reasons why the state government cannot be given complete command of the incidents of Delhi contrasted with the other states in the country. The status of Delhi is non-identical from that of the other states as far as the connections of India with the countries in the world are taken into consideration. Delhi is one such state which has people from every corner of the country and that’s the reason why the situations and problems that arise are to be handed out with maximum care. Delhi, the capital of India, has its affluent history as far as politics and worldwide connections are into consideration. It is the political pivot of India, where every political party discovers its root.

According to the past, it’s the well-known fact, the importance and contribution of Delhi towards evolving India as a country that has left behind the mark on the global map today. Delhi has left the footprints captivating history among other cities of this country. Apart from being the political capital of India, Delhi is the main administrative unit of the government of India. Vital ministries of the Indian government are located in Delhi. The parliament of India, the symbol of Indian democracy, is located in Delhi. All the vital government offices and divisions find their place in Delhi. In other words, it’s known as the powerhouse of Indian democracy which administers the nation. Deliberating on disputation between the state government and the Lt. Governor one can see that the state government is asking for something which is not practical considering the assortment of people and the image of the state at the worldwide platform.

The city is of prime significance to Central Government as it is the place of a large number of significant and major institutions such as Head of the State, State Legislature, National Executive, Apex Judiciary, Heads of Armed Forces, Para Military Forces, Foreign Diplomatic Missions, International Organizations, main Educational, Medical heads.

Major Urban Agglomeration NCT-Delhi

NCT Delhi is one of the 15th major urban clumps in the World. According to 2001, the population of Delhi is 14.78 million which contains 13.82 million urban residents and 0.96 million rural residents. Delhi, which is the third biggest metropolis of the country, has been undergoing a high growth rate during the last few years. The urban residential growth of Delhi during the last decade (1991-2001) increased at a 3.87 percent yearly growth rate. The unprecedented growth rate and population inundation to Delhi is mainly due to high migration into the city from adjacent states as well as from other states of the country. The sudden growth in Delhi’s population has been noticed since 1941 and expected/estimated to reach 22.5 million in 2021. In-migration has played a vital role in the growth of the public population of Delhi making it a big magnetite for further relocations.

The special status has been allowed on the given sections of federalism

The 69th amendment does not go in opposition to the basic structure of doctrine. As has been held by the apex court in the State of West Bengal v. Union of India[1] that the Indian Constitution did not advance the principle of complete federalism. The court delineated the characteristics, which climaxed the fact that the Indian Constitution is not a customary federal Constitution. There is no separate Constitution for each State as was needed in a federal state. The Constitution is responsible to be changed by the Union Parliament alone and the specific areas of the country that is the States have no power to change it.

According to the 69th amendment is anxious, it does not go in opposition to the basic structure doctrine as the legislative and executive power of the States is subject to the respective supreme powers of the Union. Thus, it is clear that the union has predominance behavior over the states and can revise the constitution in the advancement of public interest as long as it does not go against the basic structure doctrine that clearly doesn’t have absolute federalism as its characteristics. Therefore, the said amendment does not in any case but its impact upon the basic structure of the constitution.

Comparison with the United States:

Coming up with the picture of the US Constitution, where the functioning of government is structured up into two estates, namely the Federal and the State Governments. These governments are not conquered to each other but are co-ordinated and individualistic within the extent issued to them. It is said that such a structure of independent co-ordinate authorities is what forms the essence of federal principle and India, because of the non-appearance of the characteristics does not qualify to be a federal state. The Indian Constitution in itself is not a covenant or a treaty between the States; rather the States are the products of the Constitution and finally of the Parliament.

As was finalized by the Delhi State organization committee established in the year 1989 to inspect the setup of Delhi, that it will not be in the National engrossment and in the interest of Delhi itself, to reconstruct the set-up in Delhi as a fully developed constituent State of the Union. Thus, the procedure at the backstage of the said amendment was to give Delhi a separate identity, it being the national capital and politically strong. Thus, it was not considered fit to leave it in the hands of the local government, and hence that’s why Delhi has been given the special status under Article 239AA.

The constitution of India carries some purveying to generate apparatus for accomplishing short term adjustment in the frame of the distribution of powers and thus introduce a component of liability. India is not like other federations which have a too inflexible distribution of powers, which repudiate power to the center to take productive measures to meet a given situation, the framers of the Indian constitution took sufficient care to prepare a federal structure which could be shaped according to the requirement of the circumstances.

Delhi is a union territory with a special status under Article 239AA, the union has the power to legislate over an affair even if it comes under the state list. The apex court in many of the cases has governed that in the NCT of Delhi the laws made by the Delhi Legislative Assembly are always inferior to the laws of Parliament whether previous or post in time. This was held by a Constitution Bench of nine Judges of this Court in New Delhi Municipal Council v. State of Punjab and Ors[2], in this court held that Delhi Legislative Assembly is inferior to Parliament in the ranking.

By setting aside the authority of the incidents of Delhi, the union wants to make sure the greatest amount security to the people residing in the state, keeping in mind the divergence from not only within the country but also from the exterior of the country in the form of ambassadors, representatives working in the legislation of the foreign countries. The state is also known for the bunch full of political parties and also some of the most important forms of (monuments, foreign offices). Any problem faced by the people of this state would in turn affect the image of the country as a whole at the worldwide platform.


Article 239AA, in which Delhi was given special status and was deemed a National Capital Territory. Under Article 239AA, the National Capital Territory of Delhi has a Legislative Assembly which has the power to make powers for the territory apart from three subjects involved in the State list. This is something new from other Union Territories where the Legislative Assembly is under the Governor.

According to the Constitution 69th (Amendment) Act, 1991[3], Article 239AA[4] was formed in Part VIII of the Constitution. The object of the amendment insight of the stated position of Delhi was to conserve the conclusive authority of administration on the President. This article renamed the Union Territory of Delhi as the National Capital Territory of Delhi and provided on the condition that there shall be a Legislative Assembly for such National Capital Territory. The Legislative Assembly as created was empowered by Clause (3) of the said article to make laws for the whole or any part of the NCT with regard to any of the matters enumerated in the State List or in the Concurrent List insofar as any such affairs is appropriate to Union Territories apart from the matters with respect to Entries 1, 2 and 18 of the State List and Entries 64, 65 and 66 of that List as they co-relate to the said Entries 1, 2 and 18.

Clause (3) further provided that the power conferred upon the Legislative Assembly of Delhi by the said article shall not diminish from the powers of Parliament to make laws with respect to any matter for a Union Territory. The lower-ranking status of the Delhi Legislature is too obvious to merit any emphasis.


  • DD Basu, Comparative federalism 25-27 (2d ed. 2008)

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the literacy percentage of Delhi?

Delhi has a population of 1.68 crores. 86.21 percent is the literacy rate of Delhi.

  • By which act, the Union Territory of Delhi to be formally known as the National Capital Territory of Delhi?

The act by which the Union territory of Delhi was to be formally known as the National Capital Territory of Delhi is the Constitution 69th Act, 1991.

  • In how many districts Delhi is divided?

Delhi is divided into 11 revenue districts.  Each district has 3 subdivisions and is headed by the District Magistrate.

  • After the changes made in Delhi status what’s the area of Delhi?

In present, the area of Delhi after the special status made in our Constitution is 1,484.0 km2 (573.0 sq. mi).

  • How many members of the Legislative Assembly does Delhi have?

Delhi has 70 members in its legislative assembly.

[1]  https://indiankanoon.org/doc/603736/

[2]  https://indiankanoon.org/doc/50919315/

[3] https://www.india.gov.in/my-government/constitution-india/amendments/constitution-india-sixty-ninth-amendment-act-1991

[4] http://legislative.gov.in/constitution-sixty-ninth-amendment-act-1991

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