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Aam Aadmi Party may not table Jan Lokpal Bill in the Budget Session of Delhi Assembly

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Supporters of AAP at a rally, Ramlila Maidan.
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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing  the special session of Delhi assembly on (IANS)
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing the special session of Delhi assembly on (IANS)

New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi may not be able to table the Jan Lokpal Bill in next month’s Budget Session as it wants the Centre to whet its anti-graft Bill before it is tabled in the assembly.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal led government, which in its previous 49-day tenure had resigned over the failure to get the Bill passed in the Delhi Assembly last year, does not want to “rush” this time .

“We don’t want to rush this time. We will send the draft (of the bill) to the Centre first. Some changes have been made to the draft presented in 2014,” a Delhi government official informed.

Kejriwal had resigned last February when both the Congress and the BJP had opposed the tabling of the Bill, terming it “unconstitutional” as it was not vetted by the Centre.

“Procedurally, the draft of the Bill will be sent to the Lt. Governor, who will pass it on to the Home Ministry. The Home Ministry will seek the opinion of the law ministry,” another official told, requesting anonymity.

“And, if the Home Ministry finds it okay or suggests changes, it will send it back tothe LG, who will give the government the go-ahead to introduce the legislation,” he added.

According to sources, the draft of the Bill is on the lines of Uttarakhand’s Lokayukta Bill.

It will give the Delhi Lokpal the power to prosecute even the Chief Minister and ensure that the trial is completed within six months.

However, Constitutional experts have argued that the proposed law is in conflict with the central Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act passed by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance in 2013. (IANS)

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Another Deadline Missed, No Draft Scheme on the Cauvery Dispute Till Now

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme.

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The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.
Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia commons

The Centre yet again failed to submit a draft Scheme on the Cauvery river water dispute before the Supreme Court on the ground that the Prime Minister and other ministers were campaigning in Karnataka, which Tamil Nadu flayed as “brazen partisanship”.

Seeking 10 more days to finalize the scheme, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud: “A draft scheme has been placed before the Cabinet. Because of Karnataka elections, the Prime Minister and all other Ministers are in Karnataka. Before that the Prime Minister was abroad (in China).”

It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
Parliament of India, wikimedia commons

The Centre’s submission was countered strongly by senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, who said: “Sorry to say, the Central government is politicizing the issue. They are worried about their electoral fate in Karnataka. Election in Karnataka is on May 12 and somehow they don’t want to do it till then. We have enough of it. It is brazen partisanship of the Union of India. It is the end of co-operative federalism.”

The apex court in its February 16 judgement had directed the Centre to frame a Scheme within six months in accordance with the recommendation by the Cauvery River Water Tribunal for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Regulatory Authority (CRA), which Karnataka opposes strongly.

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme. Tamil Nadu filed a contempt petition against the Centre for failure to act within the deadline.

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During Thursday’s hearing, the court directed the Karnataka government to respond on how much of the four TMC of water it can release by month end. It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

In the course of the hearing, the court asked Karnataka to release 4 TMC of water by Monday.

The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.

The court directed the next hearing of the matter on Tuesday. (IANS)