New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) : Lt Governor Najeeb Jang today sought Union Law Ministry’s opinion on the constitutional position whether it was necessary for the Delhi government to obtain prior approval from the Centre before tabling the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Assembly.
In a statement, the Lt Governor’s office said to avoid any dispute in the matter and to obtain full clarity, Jung has referred the issue to the Law Ministry for a “final opinion”.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been maintaining that there is no need to obtain prior approval from the Centre while BJP and Congress are of the view that clearance was necessary under Transaction of Business Rules (TBR), 2002.
The LG’s office said despite the predominant view that there is a need to send the proposed bill for prior consent to the Union Government through the LG, the Chief Minister feels that there are opinions to the contrary and that he has obtained the legal view on the issue.
“It is very important to combat corruption and, therefore, the Lt Governor shares the same values as the Chief Minister to avoid corruption at all levels. The question is the need to follow procedures as mandated under the Constitution of India,” the LG’s office said.
Officials said Jung had replied to Kejriwal’s letter to him on Friday, explaining that the question addressed to Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran was not on the content of the Jan Lokpal Bill but on the constitutional validity on the issue of its introduction.
In the strongly-worded letter, Kejriwal had asked Jung not to protect the interest of Congress and the Home Ministry, saying they were keen on stalling the Jan Lokpal Bill.
In his reply to Kejriwal, Jung said the Solicitor General’s opinion was sought as the Chief Minister in his letter on January 31 had indicated his government’s intention to introduce the bill in the Assembly and to have a discussion on it during a Special Session at Indira Gandhi Stadium.
The Lt Governor also highlighted that as per Rule 34 of the Transaction of Business of the Government of NCT of Delhi Rules, 1993, any such draft bill should have been sent to the Lt Governor ahead of placing it before the Council of Ministers and this was not done.
In his letter to Kejriwal, Jung said the Finance Department, the Law Department and the Administrative Reforms Department of the Delhi government had highlighted the fact that prior recommendation of the LG was required since the bill involved expenditure from the Consolidated Fund.
The Council of Ministers did not accept the LG’s views.
Jung had further written that the legal reality is that the Delhi government is bound by the Government of NCT of Delhi Act, 1991 and the Transaction of Business of the Government of NCT of Delhi Rules, 1993.
Therefore, irrespective of whether the Delhi Cabinet appreciates this or not, the position would remain the same unless challenged in an appropriate forum.
Section 22(3) of the Government of NCT of Delhi Act, 1991 is clear that the bill will not be passed by the Assembly without the LG’s recommendation for its consideration.
“Besides, since the central government has already enacted the Lokpal and the Lokayukta Act, 2013, and with many of the provisions overlapping with the proposed Jan Lokpal Bill of the Delhi government, the Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill will have to be placed by the Lt Governor for purposes of consideration and the grant of assent by the President to avoid any repugnancy,” the statement by the LG’s office said.
On the issue of holding the final session of the Assembly at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, the Lt Governor had indicated that it was imperative to take the views of the Delhi Police for maintenance of law and order.
“The Delhi Police is clear that it would not be possible to identify and segregate people coming to the venue who may have intention to disturb the Assembly. The inability to handle large crowds had become evident in the Janta Darbar and it would indeed be more difficult to control crowds within the vicinity of the Assembly.
“Therefore, in view of the law and order position and keeping in view the sanctity of the Assembly proceedings he has requested Kejriwal to reconsider this decision,” the statement said.