NEW DELHI: The Centre sees a dim chance of the Jan Lokpal Bill going through in its present form, whether or not Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal seeks approval of the Union home ministry before tabling it in the state assembly.
Its unique provisions seeking powers for the Jan Lokpal to carry out interception and order dismissal of a “corrupt” government servant make it incompatible with the central Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act and also go against constitutional norms, government sources told TOI on Monday.
Interception powers are not provided to Lokpal under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, and a state Lokayukta Act cannot reverse this status. Not only this, the Jan Lokpal violates Article 311 of the Constitution that empowers only the President to dismiss a government servant, a Union minister said.
Even as the Delhi lieutenant governor on Monday sought the law ministry’s opinion on Kejriwal’s letter challenging a 2002 home ministry order requiring the Delhi government to get all bills vetted by it before tabling them, senior ministers indicated that the Jan Lokpal Bill may be doomed either way. Even if Kejriwal were to defy the ministry order and introduce the Jan Lokpal Bill in the assembly, somebody could always go to court citing “procedural impropriety”.
“The NCT Act and Transaction of Business Rules require the state government to seek prior approval of the Union home ministry, as the anti-corruption watchdog will involve central funding,” the minister said.
Even if the bill were to be referred to the LG in the unlikely event of its passage by Delhi assembly, it is bound to get stuck at the stage of LG/President giving assent. “Since certain provisions of the Jan Lokpal Bill are in conflict with the central Act and even the Constitution, there is no way the President can sign on it,” the minister said.
In fact, the minister accused Kejriwal of trying to use the confrontation over Jan Lokpal Bill to carve a convenient exit route for himself. “One should ask him whether Jan Lokpal passage has now taken precedence over his unfulfilled promises to the people of Delhi on supply of water and electricity,” the minister said.