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Arvind Kejriwal cannot table Jan Lokpal Bill, writes L-G Jung to Speaker; CM may resign today

Kejriwal said the AAP government was ready to extend the session by a few days beyond Feb 16 to try and ensure passage of the bill.

Our first priority is the Lokpal Bill, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said. (IE Photo: Oinam Anand) Our first priority is the Lokpal Bill, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said. (IE Photo: Oinam Anand)

Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on Friday advised the Delhi Assembly Speaker against allowing tabling of the Jan  Lokpal Bill by the Aam Aadmi Party government, which said it will not revisit the issue.

Jung said the bill doesn’t have the required clearance for introduction in the House.  In a letter to Assembly Speaker M S Dhir, the LG said the AAP government did not go through the laid down procedures in getting approval for tabling of the bill and as custodian of  the House he should consider these aspects while dealing with
the issue.

Top sources said crux of Jung’s letter was that the Speaker should not allow tabling of the bill. Immediately after Lt Governor’s letter to Dhir, sources in the AAP government said they will not “revisit” the decision to table the bill.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had last night renewed his threat of resigning if the proposed legislation was defeated by Congress and BJP.

“We are ready to extend the session. We are not here to save the government. We will table the bill tomorrow. If they allow then it is okay, otherwise I will resign,” he said.

In his letter to Dhir, Jung has indicated that tabling the bill without his concurrence will be unconstitutional.

Kejriwal has been maintaining that there was no need to obtain prior approval from the Centre or Lt Governor to table the bill while BJP and Congress are of the view that clearance was necessary under Transaction of Business Rules (TBR), 2002.

The Law Ministry has held that the Transaction of Business Rules (TBR) make it mandatory that the Lt Governor
refers to the Centre every legislative proposal which may necessitate additional financial assistance.

The four-day session of the Assembly, which began yesterday, has been convened to pass the Jan Lokpal and Swaraj Bills.

In a related development, a petition was filed in the Delhi High Court challenging the rule that Delhi government has to get clearance from L-G before tabling a bill. The plea will be heard today after 12.

Yesterday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said his government plans to introduce the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Assembly on Friday and renewed his threat of resigning if the proposed legislation was defeated by Congress and BJP.

He said the AAP government was ready to extend the session by a few days beyond February 16 to try and ensure passage of the bill but he will have no option but to quit if it was defeated.

When asked whether he may quit if the Bill was not allowed to be tabled, Kejriwal said in that case government will try to introduce in the next few days and may even go for extending the session.

“We are ready to extend the session. We are not here to save the government. We will table the bill tomorrow. If they allow then it is okay, otherwise I will resign,” he told reporters.

“We are committed to Jan Lokpal Bill and Swaraj Bill and I am ready to sacrifice CM’s chair 100 times to remove corruption from India,” he said.

Kejriwal also said it may not be possible to hold a session of the assembly at a large stadium on Sunday as planned earlier.

He also accused Congress and BJP of joining hands in not allowing the assembly to transact business demanding resignation of Law Minister Somnath Bharti’s alleged role in a raid episode in South Delhi.

“I don’t think this had happened in the history of India in any legislative assembly where BJP and Congress came together. They have exposed themselves,” said Kejriwal.

“The way they were charging at me, I thought they were coming to beat me up. They broke the mike in front of my seat and tore papers. They also broke speaker’s two mikes. Similar things happened in the Parliament today. I was thinking is it democracy. This is anything but democracy,” he said.

The first day of a special session of Assembly witnessed unprecedented chaotic scenes as BJP and Congress MLAs joined hands in disrupting proceedings by throwing files, destroying mikes, flagging banners and trooping to the well demanding Bharti’s resignation.

“We were ready for a discussion on the issue relating to Bharti. When we agreed to that they asked Bharti’s resignation. Basically they were changing their goal posts,” the chief minister said. (With PTI inputs)

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