Arvind Kejriwal sends fiery letter to Lt Gov Najeeb Jung over Jan Lokpal Bill

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 7 2014, 23:34pm hrs
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today escalated his confrontation with Congress by asking Lt Governor Najeeb Jung not to protect the interest of the ruling party and the Home Ministry, which were keen on stalling his government's Jan Lokpal Bill.

"Now it is for you to decide whether you will be able to stand up to the pressure or not. You are a genuine person. But I humbly want to suggest to you that you had taken an oath to protect the Constitution and not the interest of any party or the Home Ministry," he said in a strongly-worded letter to Jung.

The letter of Arvind Kejriwal, who shares a good equation with Jung, was sharp in tone and came a day after reports emanated that the Lt Governor had sought Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran's opinion on Delhi government's Jan Lokpal bill.

The law officer had conveyed to him that it will be illegal if prior consent was not taken from the Centre. It also came on a day when his party colleague Ashutosh called the Lt Governor a "Congress agent".

Arvind Kejriwal raised questions on how the Lt Governor had sought comments from Parasaran on the Jan Lokpal Bill that was sent to him only last evening and shortly later news leaked out about the law officer objecting to it.

"I was surprised when I heard on television last night about SG's opinion. On which bill you had sought SG's opinion as we had sent the draft to you only in the evening and on which bill he had given you opinion," he said.

Arvind Kejriwal told Jung that he knew that there was a "lot of pressure" on him from Congress and the Home Ministry on the issue of Jan Lokpal bill and it would go up in the coming days to prevent the holding of an assembly session in a public venue for enactment of the bill.

He also said that pressure would be mounted on him to ensure that the Jan Lokpal Bill is not tabled in the assembly because "they know that if the bill is passed, then many among them will go to jail".

The Chief Minister said "they (Congress), through your office, would resort to selective leaks to defame me and my government".

On Parasaran's view that it was necessary to get approval from the Centre before tabling the Jan Lokpal Bill in the assembly, Arvind Kejriwal said nowhere in the Constitution is it written that the Centre's consent was required except on three issues which he did not elaborate.

He also did not accept the view that the Jan Lokpal would be repugnant to the central law -- the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act -- saying if there was any such defect the law enacted by the assembly would anyhow go to the President for approval.

The Chief Minister described as "unconstitutional" a Home Ministry order that says that Delhi government has to take permission from the Centre before enacting any law.

He maintained that Delhi Assembly's powers have been defined in the Constitution and questioned whether the Home Ministry can put reins on that power by issuing an order.

"If the Delhi government has to take Centre's prior permission before enactment of any law then what was the need to hold elections," he questioned.