Jan Lokpal tabled in Delhi assembly

New Delhi, Nov 30 (IANS) The ruling Aam Aadmi Party on Monday tabled the anti-corruption Jan Lokpal Bill in the Delhi assembly over which it had resigned in its previous 49-day tenure since the measure was blocked by the opposition.

Tabling the Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill 2015, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said it was “historic moment” and the legislation was akin to the one demanded by social activist Anna Hazare who had launched an anti-graft stir in 2011.

Sisodia said that this was the “most effective” Jan Lokpal Bill to be brought by any government.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal congratulated Sisodia.

“Congratulations Manish for presenting the strongest anti-corruption law of independent India – Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill 2015. A historic day,” he tweeted.

According to the Bill, the three-member Jan Lokpal will “may proceed to inquire or investigate into the allegation of ‘corruption’ occurring in the National Capital Territory of Delhi.”

It means besides chief minister and Delhi government officials, the central government officials and others working in agencies like Delhi Police that report to the Centre will come under its purview .

This could become another sticking point between the Delhi and the central governments whose relations have already hit rock-bottom.

According to the Bill, a person involved in corruption will face maximum of life imprisonment and the fine imposed will be five times the loss caused to the public exchequer.

Apart from it, the Bill says that higher the post the more the penalty.A

The three member, including the head, will be appointed by Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung after the recommendation of a four-member panel.

The four member selection panel, headed by Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, will include Delhi chief minister, Delhi assembly speaker, Opposition leader.

Countering the charge of ousted AAP leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav that the Delhi government had weakened the selection panel by making political, Sisodia said the body had people of highly-dignified post.

“There could not be more independent body than the one whose chair is the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court,” he said.

The ombudsman, proposed in the bill, will have the power of civil court and will complete its investigation within six months. In the rarest of rare cases, the investigation will have to be completed within a year.

The candidate for the Janlokpal chairperson’s post has to have served as a judge in the Supreme Court or any of the high courts.

Besides, Lokpal will have its own prosecution wing.

The anti-graft institution could also give protection to the whistle blowers who blow lid off the corruption.

“Every person who willfully or maliciously makes any false complaint under this Act, shall, on conviction, be punished with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both,” he added.

The tabling of Bill was appreciated with thumping of the desks by AAP legislators who also raised slogans in its support.

After the suspension of BJP lawmaker O.P. Sharma, two lone members were not present since opposition leader Vijender Gupta was marshalled out.

Gupta had called Delhi assembly speaker Ram Niwas Goel as “partial” for suspending Sharma.

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