AAP not to table Jan Lokpal bill in budget session
news Sunday, May 31, 2015 - 05:30
In what is seen as an attmept to mend fences, Delhi's AAP government wants the centre to vet its anti-graft Jan Lokpal Bill before it is tabled in the assembly - a process it did not follow in the measure's previous avtar and which means its tabling in next month's budget has been pushed back. The Arvind Kejriwal government, which in its previous 49-day tenure had resigned over the failure to get the bill passed in the Delhi Assembly last year, does not want to "rush" this time . This means it will miss its deadline of presenting the Bill in the Budget session in June. "We don't want to rush this time. We will send the draft (of the bill) to the centre first. Some changes have been made to the draft presented in 2014," a Delhi government official told IANS, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media. Kejriwal had resigned last February when both the Congress and the BJP had opposed the tabling of the Bil, terming this "unconstitutional" as it was not vetted by the centre. This time around, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung are engaged in a bittter row over the transfer of bureaucrats, with the matter reaching President Pranab Mukherjee, the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court. Jung had objected to the tabling of the previous Bill, saying it contravened constitutional procedures. Thus, the AAP's present move is being seen by political observers as a means to resolve the dispute over transfers and shake hands with Jung. The AAP, which returned to power by winning 67 of the 70 seats in the assembly elections earlier thos had positioned the Jan Lokpal bill as one of its key poll promises. "Procedurally, the draft of the bill will be sent to the Lt. Governor, who will pass it on to the home ministry. The home ministry will seek the opinion of the law ministry," another official told IANS, also requesting anonymity. "And, if the home ministry finds it okay or suggests changes, it will send it back tothe LG, who will give the government the go-ahead to introduce the legislation," he added. According to sources, the draft of the bill is on the lines of Uttarakhand's Lokayukta Bill. It will give the Delhi Lokpal the power to prosecute even the chief minister and ensure that the trial is completed within six months. However, constitutional experts have argued that the proposed law is in conflict with the central Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act passed by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance in 2013.