Cantonments in Delhi and Ahmedabad were originally established by the British. Delhi Cantonment is popularly referred to as Delhi Cantt was established in 1914. Until February 1938, the Cantonment Board Delhi was known as the Cantt authority. The Delhi Cantonment is as Class I Cantonment Board. The Delhi Cantonment houses the Indian Army Headquarters, Delhi Area; the Army Golf Course; the Defence Services Officers Institute; military housing; Army and Air Force Public Schools; and various other defence-related installations. The cantonment also houses the Army Research and Referral Hospital and Base Hospital a tertiary care medical centre of the armed forces of India.
Presently, the Cantonment is governed by the Cantonments Act, 2006 and various Policy letters and Instructions of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Government of India issued from time to time. Though the Board functions as a local municipal body, yet it is under the administrative control of Directorate General Defence Estates (DGDE), New Delhi and Principal Director, Defence Estates, Western Command, Chandigarh.
The Cantonment Board consists of eight elected Members, three nominated Military Members, three Ex-officio Members (Station Commander, Garrison Engineer and senior executive Medical Officer), one representative of the District Magistrate. An officer of the Indian Defence Estates Services which is a central civil service is posted as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as well as the member secretary of the Board. The board is headed by the President Cantonment Board (PCB) who is the Station Commander and also presides over the meetings of the cantonment board. The term of the elected Members is of 5 years. The Vice President is elected from amongst the elected.
The Cantonment Act lays down both the mandatory and discretionary functions of the Board such as education, public health, sanitation, roads, street lighting, water supply and birth and death registration. For the purpose of administration and civil representation the cantonment board is divided into eight wards. There are various other rules such as the cantonment account code, cantonment fund servant rules, cantonment land administration rules and cantonment property rules which emanate from the Cantonment Act.
Fire fighting, water supply, public health, street lighting, birth & death registration, horticulture, primary education and sanitation are the prime departments of Delhi Cantonment Board. The various departments of Delhi Cantonment Board collectively operate to strengthen the civic infrastructure of the city.