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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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Blow for Kejriwal: EC recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

A big blow to the Aam Aadmi Party after the Election Commission recommended disqualification of 20 of its MLAs

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Arvind Kejriwal's party seems to be in trouble after the EC recommended disqualification of 20 of its MLAs. Wikimedia commons
Arvind Kejriwal's party seems to be in trouble after the EC recommended disqualification of 20 of its MLAs. Wikimedia Commons
  • The EC recommended disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs under the ‘office of profit’ pretext
  • AAP looks forward to approaching the Delhi High court
  • The controversy started after Prashant Patel had submitted an application to the President

The Election Commission has recommended the disqualification 20 AAP MLAs. The EC found them guilty of holding an ‘office of profit’. The recommendation has been sent to the President. If cleared, the disqualification would mean that AAP’s strength in Delhi Assembly will reduce from 67 to 47.

The 20 AAP legislators were accused of being unconstitutionally appointed as parliamentary secretaries to assist various ministers of the Delhi government. The EC’s opinion on this matter means that the AAP legislators are set to be disqualified, which could soon force a mini Assembly election in the national capital.

The party now looks forward to approach the Delhi High Court, pleading that the recommendation be struck down. Wikimedia Commons
The party now looks forward to approaching the Delhi High Court, pleading that the recommendation is struck down. Wikimedia Commons

“This is unprecedented. The MLAs in question didn’t get a chance to present their case before the EC. In fact, we didn’t hear the news from the EC, but news channels,” AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said.

ALSO READ: Anna Hazare comes out in open support about Chanda Bandh Satyagraha against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)

Opposition parties have demanded the immediate resignation of Arvind Kejriwal as chief minister of Delhi on moral ground.

The ‘office of profit’ controversy had started after a lawyer, Prashant Patel, had filed an application in 2015 to the President’s office. It questioned the appointment of AAP MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.

The Congress had filed a petition in Election Commission in 2016 as a follow-up, based on this application. The opposition party sought disqualification of 21 AAP MLAs.

Kejriwal had appointed MLAs in March 2015 and his government passed an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997, in June 2015. Wikimedia Commons

AAP had argued that this post did not qualify as an office of profit as there is no monetary benefit attached to it. But then President Pranab Mukherjee refused to give assent, following which the appointments were set aside by the Delhi High Court in September 2016, declaring them illegal since the order had been passed “without concurrence/approval of the Lt Governor”.

ALSO READ: Discontentment in the Aam Aadmi Party is resulting in Resignation and withdrawals from the party

In the first reaction to the EC recommendation, AAP spokesperson Nagendar Sharma tweeted:

Here’s the list of 20 MLAs who have been recommended to be disqualified: 

1. Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli)
2. Som Dutt (Sadar Bazar)
3. Praveen Kumar (Jangpura)
4. Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar)
5. Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka)
6. Sanjeev Jha (Burari)
7. Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar)
8. Sukhvir Singh (Mundka)
9. Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar)
10. Sarita Singh (Rohtas Nagar)
11. Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk)
12. Rajesh Rishi (Janakpuri)
13. Anil Kumar Bajpai (Gandhi Nagar)
14. Manoj Kumar (Kondli)
15. Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh)
16. Avtar Singh (Kalkaji)
17. Vijendar Garg Vijay (Rajinder Nagar)
18. Rajesh Gupta (Wazirpur)
19. Sharad Kumar (Narela)
20. Shiv Charan Goel (Moti Nagar)