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Both views on Jan Lokpal Bill valid, says Prashant Bhushan

The BJP and the Congress have only been talking about it for years without doing anything concrete.

New Delhi |
February 9, 2014 2:31:20 am
Prashant Bhushan Prashant Bhushan

As his party engages in a battle of wits with Lt-Governor Najeeb Jung over the constitutionality of the Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill, even questioning his impartiality, AAP leader Prasant Bhusan said both sets of opinion about the contentious Bill are valid.

“There can be two views on the legality of the Bill. It is true that the Centre’s approval is required, but the Constitution also contains a provision under which a Bill that is passed without the prior approval of the Centre is not invalid. Article 255 of the Constitution says the law can stand, provided it is subsequently approved by the President,” Bhusan said.

He said it was to pre-empt legal hurdles like these that Delhi needed full statehood, but the BJP and the Congress have only been talking about it for years without doing anything concrete.

Article 255 states that requirement for previous sanction should be regarded as a matter of procedure and no act of Parliament or state legislature would be invalid only because previous sanction as required by the Constitution was not given. The Act, however, would have to receive the assent of the President.

The Jan Lokpal Bill moved by Delhi’s AAP government has become a flashpoint not just between Arvind Kejriwal and the Congress, but also between the government and the L-G after he sought the opinion of Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran on the matter.

Things took a turn for the worse when AAP accused Jung of being a Congress stooge after the  letter from Parasaran, wherein  he had opined that the Bill is unconstitutional, became public.

The faceoff between Jung and Kejriwal is interesting also because it was Jung, who by agreeing to send two policemen on leave, had thrown AAP a lifeline on the second day of Kejriwal’s dharna outside Rail Bhawan.

Asked why, given the room for different legal opinions on the Bill, his party had lambasted the L-G, Bhusan said. “It is a technicality, it should not be treated as an irregularity. When there is a provision under which the Bill is constitutional then why is he blocking it?” he said.

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