AAP govt introduces Janlokpal Bill in Assembly

New Delhi :Nine months after storming to power, the AAP government today introduced the Delhi Janlokpal Bill in the Assembly, which provides for an ombudsman with powers to act against any government functionary, including those of the Centre, in the national capital through its own investigation wing.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who tabled the Bill, termed it as the most “effective and independent” in India’s history and said the proposed legislation brings under its ambit every act of corruption occuring within the boundaries of the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

AAP leaders said the Lokpal will have powers to even probe acts of corruption againts Union Ministers and central government officials, which may trigger another round of confrontation between the Kejriwal government and the Centre.

Sisodia assured people that the bill is similar to the one that came up during the 2011 Anna movement, rejecting allegations of it being “completely different”.

A four-member selection committee, chaired by the Delhi High Court Chief Justice, will select the three-member Lokpal, he said. The other members of the Committee will be the Chief Minister, Speaker of the state Assembly and the Leader of the Opposition.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made his first appearance in the ongoing session of the House, while BJP legislators were not present during the introduction of the Bill. Leader of the Opposition Vijender Gupta, who was earlier marshalled out of the House, did not return despite requests by Sisosida.

Under the bill, the Lokpal can be removed only through a process of impeachment and it will require at least two-thirds majority in the Legislative Assembly. AAP has an unprecedented 67 MLAs in the 70-member Delhi Legislative Assembly.

The appointment and removal process has come under criticism from former AAP leaders Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav and BJP who have accused Kejriwal of playing the “biggest fraud” by diluting the provisions that were envisaged originally.