NEW DELHI-- Delhi Assembly today passed the Jan Lokpal Bill, incorporating suggestions of Anna Hazare, which provides for an ombudsman with powers to act against any government functionary including those of the Centre even as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal warned the NDA dispensation against any move to put a spanner on making it a law.
Kejriwal termed it as a "historic moment" for the Jan Lokpal movement and offered his tribute to veteran activist Hazare recounting his days with the 2011 India Against Corruption (IAC) movement. The bill received 64 votes in its favour in the 70-member Delhi Assembly.
Reacting to allegations that the bill was a diluted version of the one that was tabled in 2014, Kejriwal wondered whether BJP or Congress-ruled states would be able to pass any such legislation.
"Few people are saying it's weak. So try and pass a weak law only in BJP or Congress ruled-states. If Centre does not approve the bill than we will have to bend our fingers and BJP will face the same situation like Congress," he said.
As per the changes, there will be a provision for one more high court judge, one eminent person and one former chairperson in the selection panel of Janlokpal. While the impeachment process for removal will begin only after a higher court monitored probe of any allegation against the Lokpal.
A strong Janlokpal is important to ensure that such drive against graft continues even if we are not in power, Kejriwal said. He also alleged that the Centre had made the Anti-Corruption Branch dysfunctional.
"The biggest step we took in our first term was that we had filed FIR against Mukesh Ambani. But since June 8, when the ACB was taken over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there has not been a single notice against Ambani. We had even started summoning Reliance officials," he said.
Kejriwal also defended the provision which brings even Union government ministers and officials under the ambit of the bill.
As per provisions of the bill, Lokpal will have powers to even probe acts of corruption against Union Ministers and central government officials working in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, which may trigger another round of confrontation between the Kejriwal government and the Centre.
"If the Prime Minister commits any crime an SHO can take action, but if he indulges in corruption there is no one to take action in such cases. This is why need a Janlokpal," Kejriwal said.