The Aam Aadmi Party is all set to bring a stronger Jan Lokpal Bill during the Monsoon Session of the Delhi Assembly likely to take place in August. The bill will set up provisions to investigate corruption charges against politicians and civil servants.
AAP had quit power in February 2014 following a 49-day rule after the then minority government failed to table an earlier version of the controversial Bill in the Assembly.
Both BJP and Congress had opposed the Bill saying its tabling was ‘unconstitutional’ on the grounds of the Centre not vetting it.
This time, however, the bill is more contentious and stronger, raising fears of the Centre once again not buying into it, as their nod is necessary for Delhi as a half-state to pass any legislation of this nature.
Apart from other provisions, Lokpal 2.0 aims at having greater control over Delhi’s Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB). The institution is presently caught in legal and political battles between the Centre and Delhi government.
AAP is confident this time as it has the people’s mandate (67 out of 70 seats Assembly seats). The government says it has done the necessary homework and there would be no hurdles this time.
“The draft is almost ready. It will become more stringent. Tweaking is being done in the light of the Centre’s attempts to control the ACB and interfere into issues of transfer and posting. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal himself is monitoring the whole process,” said AAP spokesperson Dilip Pandey.
Delhi government’s spokesperson Nagendra Sharma said, “We will send the draft to the Centre first; they will convey their objections, if any, including possibilities of our Bill violating any national Law. I don’t think it will be stalled again.”
Lokpal Bill was the key demand made by the Anna Hazare-led anti-graft movement, of which Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was then a part. Kejriwal later gave birth to political party AAP along with his aides.