Jan Lokpal row: AAP calls Delhi Lt Governor 'Congress agent'

AAP has seemingly done it again.

Already under fire for Somnath Bharti's midnight raid on a South Delhi private home to 'bust a sex and drugs racket' and for accusing BJP leader Arun Jaitley of bribing MLAs to topple the Delhi government, senior party member and former journalist Ashutosh on Friday reportedly called Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung a 'Congress agent' who should instead be working for the people of Delhi.

 Jan Lokpal row: AAP calls Delhi Lt Governor Congress agent

AAP leader and former journalist Ashutosh.

Alleging that there was a larger conspiracy to dethrone the month old AAP government in Delhi, Ashutosh questioned how information pertaining to the Jan Lokpal bill from Jung's office was leaked.

“How come a number of conversations held within the premises of the LG office were leaked?”

These remarks come a day after Jung sought legal advice from the Solicitor General of Delhi on the constitutionality of the Delhi government's proposal to enact the Jan Lokpal Bill without seeking the Centre's clearance. This, after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had told him that the bill would be taken up and passed directly by the Delhi Assembly on 16 February at a session that will cost Rs 50 lakh.

Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran is believed to have told the Lt. Governor that the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, passed last year by Parliament, is in force and a Lokpal Bill in Delhi would be repugnant to the central law. He is further understood to have conveyed to him that it would be illegal if enacted without the consent of the Centre.

Parasaran further said that because the Lokpal will be funded at least in part by the union government, the Home Ministry must clear it before it is debated and voted upon by the Delhi legislature.

Later today, Kejriwal is expected to meet the Lieutenant Governor with the claim that other legal experts say the Solicitor General's view is incorrect.

The Congress, without whose support the AAP government cannot survive, on Thursday decided that it would oppose the Bill at the introduction stage itself.

Holding the government's plan to be unconstitutional, the Delhi Congress leaders decided to meet the Lt Governor and urge him to prevail upon the government not to go ahead with its plans.

"We will fight the issue tooth and nail. We will not allow the AAP government to do any unconstitutional things," DPCC spokesman Mukesh Sharma had said.

Unfazed by criticism, the AAP government has declared that it will go ahead with enacting the law. It plans to introduce the bill in the Delhi assembly on 13 February and discuss it for two days before shifting the proceedings to a sports stadium for passage of the bill.

Meanwhile, in an interview to the Hindustan Times, Delhi Speaker Maninder Singh Dhir said there was no constitutional violation by introducing the bill in the Delhi assembly as it was a financial bill and therefore did not need approval from the Centre.

"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."

In an earlier piece on Firstpost, we had argued that a delay by the Centre in comparing the Delhi bill with the Central Act could snowball into another confrontation.

Additionally, with the UPA itself hoping to make a strong political move by passing six anti-corruption bills in Parliament subsequently, there is no doubt that the Centre will be reading the fine print of the Delhi bill carefully.

Updated Date: Feb 07, 2014 13:45:18 IST