A major confrontation is likely between the AAP-led Delhi government and the Centre, as soon after passing the Delhi Lokpal Bill 2014 in a cabinet meeting on Monday, the government said that it would directly table it in a special assembly session rather than seeking the Centre’s approval.
“We will table the bill in the special assembly session. We will not send it to the Centre,” Manish Sisodia, minister of urban development department said.
The opposition Congress, which has extended outside support to AAP, called it an illegal act.
“There are certain rules which need to be followed and as per transaction of business rules it needs the approval of the Centre. We will not support anything which is unconstitutional. They need to respect the Constitution,” said Arvinder Singh, chief of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee.
Sisodia said right from the chief minister to a peon will fall under its ambit. Passing the Delhi Lokpal bill was part of AAP’s manifesto too.
“The government maintains that a bill for the final assent of the president to turn it into a law is required to be sent according to the Constitution once the assembly passes it. This is based on opinions sought from eminent constitutional experts,” said a government spokesperson.
Family members of public servants have been kept out of the ambit of the Delhi Lokpal Bill 2014.
Read: Congress to oppose Delhi Jan Lokpal if it is against Lokpal Act, but won’t pull plug
“The only law that comes closest to this bill is the one passed by the Uttarakhand assembly in 2011, but it had some limitations in filing complaints against the CM and ministers. This bill for the first time provides a legal right of protection for whistleblowers and witnesses in corruption cases,” said a spokesperson.
The Lokpal will have the power to initiate investigation on its own or on a complaint from an individual and punishment in cases of corruption will range from six months to 10 years and life imprisonment in rarest of rare cases.
“If the beneficiary of an offence is a business entity, in addition to the punishment provided under this law, the guilty will have to pay a fine up to five times the loss caused to the public exchequer,” added the spokesperson. Read: CM Kejriwal's cabinet clears Jan Lokpal Bill
Another controversial aspect of the Bill is the fact that Delhi police and DDA have been kept under its ambit. As far as any case of corruption related to Delhi police and DDA is concerned, it will be probed by the anti-corruption wing