Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday said there was a need to examine certain provisions of the Lokayukta, the quasi-judicial body, which recently recommended the removal of PWD Minister Rajkumar Chauhan following allegations of corruption.
“We are looking into it, what is there and what is not there. The way the Lokayukta has been working, I feel there is a need to examine,” Dikshit said after the second day of the Budget session, when reporters asked her about suggestions by a section of Congressmen that there was a need to amend the Lokayukta and Upa Lokayukta Act of 1995.
Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been mounting pressure on Dikshit to sack PWD Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan, following recommendations by the Lokayukta for his removal, for trying to protect a leading resort in a tax evasion case.
Asked to comment on the Lokayukta order, Dikshit said, “I have repeatedly said that the matter is with the President. The Lokyukta has not sent the recommendation to us. He has sent it directly to the President. When the President is to take a decision on it, what comment can I offer?” she asked.
Opposition BJP has been mounting pressure on Congress for the removal of Chauhan. Earlier, Delhi Assembly’s Budget Session started on a stormy note as Opposition MLAs from at the outset demanded a censure motion to be admitted against Chauhan.
The Congress found support in Speaker Yoganand Shastry, who rejected the demand outright, saying the Assembly rules did not have the provision for such a motion. As commotion grew, the Speaker adjourned the proceedings twice, for 20 minutes each.
The Lokayaukta had, a few weeks ago, recommended the ouster of Chauhan, after it was allegedly found that the minister misused his authority to financially favour private parties. The Delhi government always maintained that the recommendation lacked evidence.
But the issue has provided enough ammunition to the Opposition camp to last the entire Budget session. BJP MP and national spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain called it a “Constitutional crisis”.
“We demand a censure motion because this is the first time that the Lokayukta has recommended the removal of a minister here. It is shameful for the government. The minister should resign,” said VK Malhotra, Leader of Opposition.
Speaker Yoganand Shastri, however, said that a Censure Motion could not be brought against an individual. “It has to be brought against the whole Cabinet or something. There is no provision for this motion against one person,” he told HT during one of the adjournments.
Transport and Education Minister Arvinder Singh cited an instance in the Lok Sabha when the Congress wanted to move a similar censure motion against LK Advani, which the then BJP-led NDA government had dismissed.
“When they were in power, they behaved differently about this same motion,” he alleged.