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What Happened to Jan Lokpal Issue Which Brought AAP to Power?

Delhi government said the Jan Lokpal Bill is pending with the Centre. “The Jan Lokpal has been cleared by the Assembly and is awaiting approval from the Centre. Once that is done with, things will definitely change for the better,” said Nagendra Sharma, media advisor to the chief minister.

Aishwarya Kumar | News18.com

Updated:April 27, 2017, 11:46 PM IST
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What Happened to Jan Lokpal Issue Which Brought AAP to Power?
The apex court’s observation has also brought AAP in the spotlight for lying low on an issue that brought the party into existence in the first place. (File image)
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New Delhi: After the humiliating defeat in the MCD polls, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has set out to introspect on the various aspects of its governance and policies.

While the party was at it on Thursday, the Supreme Court, in a separate development rapped the Centre for keeping the Lokpal appointment on hold, saying that there was “no justification for the delay”.

The apex court’s observation has also brought AAP in the spotlight for lying low on an issue that brought the party into existence in the first place.

The movement for the Lokpal started with Anna Hazare, who in 2011, minced no words in hitting out at politicians and the then government over the delay in enacting the Lokpal.

Hazare was joined by Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal among others. The latter’s AAP, however, is yet have a stronger Lokpal.

To start with, many of AAP’s members have been under scrutiny in various cases. The then senior party leaders like Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan had raised concerns over compromise on ethics for power. Both of them were ousted from the party.

Speaking to News18, Yadav said the party had failed its purpose. Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill, 2015, which was passed by the Delhi Assembly, is awaiting a green signal from the Centre.

“It’s easy for them now. They can say that the Bill is stuck with the Centre, and that it is not in their hands. If and when it is cleared, AAP still can’t do much because the Bill itself is full of loopholes. Their whole stance on anti-corruption will still fall flat,” added the former AAP leader.

The Jan Lokpal Bill has been the topic of debate among many, within and outside the political fraternity.

To start with, there is no independent budget for the Jan Lokpal, which has compromised its independence and efficacy. Additionally, the Jan Lokpal does not have enough power to appoint its own staff, and will have to do with what the Delhi government provides.

The Delhi Bill also does not provide the Jan Lokpal with a dedicated investigation wing. The powers of the Lokayukta in the national capital are restricted to recommending action against individuals and bodies.

Sources in Delhi Lokayukta, currently held by Justice Reva Khetrapal, said, “Our powers are restricted to recommending action against people.”

“We need the power to act against IAS officers, the permission to conduct searches and seizures like what Lokayuktas get in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Delhi’s Lokayukta department must be one of the weakest in the country,” said a Lokayukta official.

Common Cause, an NGO, filed a PIL in the Delhi High Court “to highlight the disregard by the competent authority of the considered recommendations made by the Lokayukta in various cases involving egregious acts of corruption by elected public functionaries.”

Delhi government said the Jan Lokpal Bill is pending with the Centre. “The Jan Lokpal has been cleared by the Assembly and is awaiting approval from the Centre. Once that is done with, things will definitely change for the better,” said Nagendra Sharma, media advisor to the chief minister.

| Edited by: Nakshab Khan
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