The Delhi government’s budget session is likely to be a stormy one. The government wants to bring in the controversial Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill and pass it at a venue outside the Delhi assembly.
The opposition, on the other hand, has been blaming it for circumventing the law. Delhi assembly speaker Maninder Singh Dhir spoke to Hindustan Times on the legal position on the Jal Lokpal Bill and various other issues.
Excerpts from an interview:
The Congress and the BJP claim the Aam Aadmi Party government has violated the constitution by not referring the Jan Lok Bill to the Lieutenant Governor.
The rules say that a ‘Money Bill’ - the budget or any bill related to taxes - cannot be tabled on the floor of the house without prior permission of the President or the Governor or the Lieutenant Governor, as the case may be. But a financial bill does not need prior approval from the head of the state before tabling it. The Jan Lokpal Bill is a financial bill and does not need the L-G’s prior approval. But before it is passed by the house, the L-G must approve it.
Has the government told you that it intends to introduce the Jan Lokpal Bill in this session and have you discussed the controversy around it? Will you allow any Bill to be tabled if it has not fulfilled the constitutional requirements?
The government has not discussed anything with me or my office in this regard. But I am keeping a close eye on the issue and have discussed it with officials here (Delhi assembly). Let me assure you and the people of Delhi that my role in the Assembly will be totally non-partisan. I will follow the law and can’t go above the rules.
Read: Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill unconstitutional, says solicitor general
The government is keen on holding the last day of the session at a public venue. The Congress and the BJP say it is illegal.
The authority of deciding the venue from where the assembly proceedings will be run lies with Lieutenant Governor. My job is to run the proceedings of the assembly in a non-partisan manner, which I will dutifully discharge.
But it is the responsibility of the Speaker to ensure that the business of the assembly happens in a peaceful manner with no pressure on legislators. The proceedings are not disturbed by anyone. How will you ensure it if the session is called in a stadium?
That situation has not come yet. The government has not finalised any venue, I will think what to do when that situation arises.
Read: Congress to oppose Delhi Jan Lokpal if it is against Lokpal Act, but won’t pull plug
But we saw the visitors clapping and shouting during the first assembly session. It was difficult to control them.
The visitors were quite excited. But it is the issue of regulating the crowd. People can also watch the live proceedings of the House online.
Due to lack of knowledge, the first-time MLAs of the Aam Aadmi Party were found doing things that are not allowed in the House. How will you ensure that it does not happen again?
Not just the AAP MLAs, there are several BJP MLAs too who have got elected to the Delhi assembly for the first time. We recently organised a training session for them on how to behave in the House, how to raise questions and their overall conduct inside the house. I hope they will do better this time.
Read: IG stadium booked, no venue to pass Delhi Lokpal