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Approve Janlokpal bill or meet Congress’ fate: Kejriwal to Centre

Delhi Assembly on Friday passed the Janlokpal Bill, incorporating changes suggested by Anna Hazare

delhi Updated: Dec 05, 2015 00:36 IST
HT Correspondent
Janlokpal Bill

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal during a discussion before the anti-corruption Janlokpal Bill was passed by Delhi Assembly on Friday (Sonu Mehta/ HT Photo)

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday warned the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre of ‘meeting the same fate’ as the Congress if it ‘blocks’ the Janlokpal Bill passed by the Delhi Assembly.

The chief minister said his government would approach both the Centre and the president, urging them to clear the Bill passed by the Delhi Assembly on Friday.

“I request you to clear it and put it to test. It is at least better than having nothing,” said Kejriwal, while concluding about half an hour speech in Delhi Assembly, which passed the Bill amid dissent from the two opposition members.

Read | Delhi assembly passes anti-corruption Jan Lokpal Bill

The Janlokpal Bill was passed with seven amendments to the one originally tabled in the Assembly. The two major amendments included those suggested by Anna Hazare in sections related to appointment and removal of Janlokpal. The amendment would now mean the selection committee for appointment of Janlokpal would now have seven members instead of four.

Three additional members-- besides the chief minister, speaker, Leader of Opposition and chief justice of Delhi high court -- would include an eminent personality chosen by the four original members, a former high court judge and a former Lokpal.

For removal of the Janlokpal, an inquiry initiated by the high court will precede the impeachment process in Delhi Assembly.

The nine amendments proposed by the leader of opposition Vijender Gupta were rejected by voice vote. AAP rebel MLA Pankaj Pushkar moved a motion to send the Bill to the Select Committee. He, however, was forced to withdraw his motion as the party issued a whip against it.

The discussion on the Bill witnessed emotional speeches by AAP legislators who recounted the journey of the Janlokpal movement and lauded the efforts of their leader Arvind Kejriwal. Vote of thanks to Anna Hazare came a close second. However, Kejriwal went on to thank former colleagues Kiran Bedi and Prashant Bhushan as well for having been a part of the movement for a very long period.

Labour minister Gopal Rai questioned the critics for flagging technical issues like bringing central government employees in Delhi under the ambit of the proposed office of Janlokpal. “If the CrPc and IPC can be implemented against all, why do we have double standards when it comes to a crime related to corruption,” said Rai amid thunderous response from the ruling party legislators.

Vijender Gupta termed the Bill a political document, stating that certain clauses have been added which make the Bill ultra vires. “I proposed certain amendments to improve the legality of the Bill. But they were rejected,” he said.