12:04 pm - Wednesday April 17, 2024

Centre Government v/s Aam Aadmi Party : Mr. Kejriwal’s Jan Lokpal Bill

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New Delhi –  Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government seems ready for a confrontation over its pet proposal – the anti-corruption Jan Lokpal bill – after a top lawyer’s advice that the Delhi government has to seek the Centre’s approval before it tries to enact the bill.

The Chief Minister today said, “We will write to the Lieutenant-Governor about it.” His party pointed out that they had consulted several senior lawyers who had told them that the Delhi government could go ahead with legislation without having to seek the Centre’s nod.

Mohan Parasaran, the Solicitor General, has told Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung that before the Delhi legislature debates or votes on the bill, it must be cleared by the Union Home Ministry,  as the Lokpal or the ombudsman agency that is created by the bill will be funded at least in part by the Union government.

“It seems like a conspiracy against AAP. The Lieutenant-Governor needs to work for Delhi, not Congress,” said AAP spokesperson Ashutosh.

Mr Kejriwal has declared that from February 13, the Jan Lokpal bill will be reviewed and then voted upon by the state’s law-makers in a special four-day session at a city stadium, where people have been invited.

But the legal hurdle sets the stage for a new conflict between the Chief Minister and the Centre, whose top ministers he has repeatedly disdained as corrupt. Union minister Manish Tewari said, “If at all the solicitor has said so then it’s our duty to protect the Constitution.”

In 2011, Mr Kejriwal and his mentor, Anna Hazare, led a campaign to demand that Parliament pass the Lokpal Bill to create an independent agency to check graft among officials. It was not till December 2013, that the law was enacted. Mr Kejriwal has said that the law cleared by Parliament is so bland that it “can’t even catch a mouse,” and his version, the Jan Lokpal bill, is far more stringent.

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