The standoff between the AAP government and the Union Home Ministry over the conduct of Delhi Police may qualify at best as a temporary truce. With Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal fast-tracking a new Lokpal Bill for Delhi — it is to be in place by February — the two governments may soon lock horns again since the Bill first requires clearance from the Home Ministry.
The AAP government aims to repeal the Delhi Lokayukta Act and replace it with a Bill modelled on their own Jan Lokpal Bill for the Centre. The Bill envisages a Lokpal or Lokayukta heading the anti-corruption wing in Delhi with powers to tap phones, conduct surveillance and independent inquires.
However, any law in Delhi that requires the services of a police force needs ratification from the Home Ministry.
Government sources said “final touches” were being given to the Bill which is likely to be tabled in the Assembly in the first week of February. “The Bill is almost ready. We are just fine-tuning it and are hopeful that it will be cleared by February first-week,’’ a senior official said.
A committee, headed by the chief secretary and including secretaries of urban development, law, finance, has been formed to draft the Bill.
Advocate Rahul Mehra, who is a member of the committee, said the draft Bill had been discussed and sent to the government. “The draft Bill has been discussed and the conclusion minutes have been sent to the government,’’ he said.
The bill will have to go to the Home Ministry once it is cleared by the Delhi Assembly. Kejriwal had said he would pass the Bill at Ramlila Maidan, which is only likely to pose more problems.