NEW DELHI, December 28: The anti-corruption law that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) wants to bring after taking charge on Saturday would be modelled on the lines of their draft Jan Lokpal Bill that was discussed intensively in the joint draft committee chaired by then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and co-chaired by former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan, and abandoned by the UPA.
The Kejriwal government will repeal, what the AAP has dubbed as the “toothless” Delhi Lokayukta Act and replace it with its own version of the Jan Lokpal (or Lokayukta) Bill that will have jurisdiction over the Chief Minister, all Ministers, legislators and all levels of government officers and employees.
Not only will the Team Kejriwal’s Jan Lokpal be independent, but it will have its own investigation wing likely to be drawn from the Delhi Police Crime Branch and a prosecution wing.
The draft Bill was framed by the party. Now, the Bill’s title and other features shall be honed by the government’s legal department before being cleared by the Cabinet, informed sources said.
The Bill would have provisions for protection of whistle blowers and citizen’s charter for time-bound delivery of services, which is not there in the Centre’s Lokpal Bill passed by Parliament last week. Apart from that, all government employees shall have to declare their assets under the new law.
Asked whether the Delhi government, which does not have full statehood, would be able to bring the Bill, Mr. Shanti Bhushan told The Hindu that he had not seen the Rules of Business but after listening to a discussion on television, feels that the Delhi Cabinet could change the provisions in the Rules of Business to enable the new government to pass the Bill.
However, after the Bill was passed by the Assembly, it would have to go to the President for his assent, he added.
Speaking to The Hindu from Bangalore, one of the authors of the Jan Lokpal Bill Prashant Bhushan said the Delhi Bill would be similar to the Uttarakhand Act passed in 2011 albeit “with a few changes.”
It is ironical that while the AAP wants to bring an anti-corruption law modelled after the Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill passed by B.C. Khanduri government in 2011, the ruling Congress government in the State now wants to repeal that Act and replace it with a new one on the lines of the Central law.