The AAP Arvind Kejriwal government’s plans to enact the Jan Lokpal Bill in a public venue next week faced fresh hurdles with Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran insisting that Lt Governor’s prior approval is necessary while key ally Congress toughened its opposition.
Parasaran, whose opinion was sought by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on the constitutionality of the Delhi Government’s proposal to enact the Bill without seeking Centre’s clearance, is understood to have conveyed to him that it will be illegal if enacted without the consent.
The SG is also believed to have told the LG that Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, passed last year by Parliament, is in force and a Lokpal Bill in Delhi will be repugnant to the central law. Therefore, it will require the assent of the President.
Meanwhile, the Congress, without whose support the AAP government cannot survive, today decided that it oppose the Bill at the introduction stage itself.
Holding the government’s plan as 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 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 February 13 and discuss it for two days before shifting the proceedings to a sports stadium for passage of the bill.
Reacting to the development, Union Minister Manish Tewari reminded the Arvind Kejriwal government that it was sworn under the Constitution and it was its duty to protect it.
“If there is a legal position, a constitutional propriety which needs to be observed, then obviously it has to be followed. And if at the Solicitor General has informed the Lieutenant Governor with regard to what the constitutional position is, then I think it is incumbent upon everybody to respect the Constitution.
“After all, even the Aam Aadmi party government in Delhi has sworn to protect and defend the constitution. They have taken the oath of office on the Constitution,” Tewari told reporters here.