The Delhi Janlokpal Bill, 2015, was passed by the assembly Friday, after incorporating two amendments suggested by activist Anna Hazare.
The anti-corruption bill was passed with 64 votes in the 70-member Delhi Assembly. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal expressed his gratitude towards former colleagues Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi.
Kejriwal, Bhushan and Bedi were all prominent members of a movement by India Against Corruption, spearheaded by Hazare, to demand a stringent anti-corruption bill.
Hailing the passing of the bill as “historic”, Kejriwal spoke about the movement, the formation of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and its 49-day first stint in the government.
The AAP convenor also lauded the efforts of all leaders and volunteers who were a part of the Janlokpal movement.
“This law is not our law. This is the law of the people of this country. When they saw that the Lokpal bill was not being passed, they gave us 28 seats. When they realised that the bill was not getting passed even with 28 seats, they gave us 67 seats,” said Kejriwal.
Reacting to the concerns about Janlokpal’s jurisdiction extending to central government employees, ministers and Delhi Police, Kejriwal said.
The country’s Constitution gives Delhi government this responsibility…. if there is any corruption within the boundaries of the capital the responsibility of curbing corruption lies with the Delhi government”.
“We have been given this responsibility by the Constitution and we are going to try our best to meet it,” he said.
BJP MLA and Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta moved 10 amendments in the Janlokpal Bill.
These included changes in the Janlokpal chairperson’s appointment processes, the qualification needed to become a Janlokpal member and removal of the chairperson or members of Janlokpal, among others. These amendments were rejected in the assembly.
The two suggestions by Hazare, incorporated in the Bill, pertain to the composition of the selection committee for the appointment of the Janlokpal chairperson and its members, and the process to remove them.
The selection committee will comprise three additional members including one more high court judge and an eminent person.
The impeachment process for the Janlokpal’s removal will take place only after a probe, ordered by high court, looks into the allegations against the anti-corruption ombudsman.
Democracy crippled, says Pushkar
Dissident AAP MLA from Timarpur Pankaj Pushkar Friday alleged democracy was being crippled after he was denied permission to address the assembly. “While I was trying to register my protest with full civility, I was suppressed,” he said.
“Why am I not allowed to speak even for a minute in the assembly,” he said.