Finally, Delhi Assembly passes Janlokpal Bill
The House cleared the Bill with two Amendments passed by the Delhi Cabinet on Thursday evening after some changes were suggested by activist Anna Hazare.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal termed it as a “historic moment” for the Janlokpal movement and thanked Anna Hazare recounting his days with the 2011 India Against Corruption (IAC) movement. The Bill received 64 votes in its favour in the 70-member Delhi Assembly.
Reacting to allegations that the Bill was a diluted version of the one that was tabled in 2014, Kejriwal wondered whether BJP or Congress-ruled states would be able to pass any such legislation.
“Few people are saying it’s weak. So try and pass a weak law only in BJP or Congress ruled-states. If Centre does not approve the Bill then we will have to bend our fingers and BJP will face the same situation like Congress,” he said.
Opposition leader Vijender Gupta called the Bill as a “political document which was in the violation of the Constitution”.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia proposed two Amendements in the original Janlokpal Bill in the House, which was desired by Anna Hazare.
During the two-hour debate on Janlokpal, at least 20 legislators expressed their views.
The first Amendment said a seven-member panel would select two members and chairperson in the institution of Janlokpal.
The original Bill said the panel consisting Chief Minister, Leader of Opposition, Assembly Speaker and Delhi high court Chief Justice will select the members and chair of the Janlokpal.
According to AAP legislators, the Amendments are in line with those proposed by veteran social activist Anna Hazare. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had also asserted he will “surely” implement Anna’s suggestions.
The Amendments deal with the selection and removal of the Lokpal. While the “diluted” form of the Bill suggested just four members in the Lokpal selection committee, with Delhi CM, the Assembly Speaker, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly and the Chief Justice of Delhi high court, the amended bill says there would be three additional members.
The new members will include another judge from Delhi high court, any eminent personality selected by rest of the committee members and the Lokpal chairman from the next term.
For removal of Lokpal, there would be a High Court inquiry first before referring the matter to the Delhi Assembly, where two-thirds of the Delhi Assembly can vote to remove the Lokpal. However, in the 2011 Bill, a Lokpal could be removed only after being found guilty of wrongdoing by courts and a presidential clearance.
The legislation will not become law till the Central government approves it.