Soli Sorabjee backs AAP government’s stand on Jan Lokpal bill

soliNEW DELHI : Eminent lawyer Soli Sorabjee today backed the Delhi government’s stand that there was no need to take the prior consent of the Centre before introduction of its Jan Lokpal Bill in the Assembly, which it plans to do next week.
In his opinion given to the Delhi government he said that there are “serious legal infirmities” in the Transaction Business Rules (TBR) of 2002 which requires approval by Central government before passage of certain types of bills.
The Delhi government had asked him whether Rule 55(1) of TBR violates the Constitution and does the Central government have the power to make that rule under section 44 of the Government of NCT of Delhi Act.
“In my opinion there are serious legal infirmities in the said Rule. Neither Article 239AA nor GNCTD Act empowers or requires the Lt Governor to make a reference to the Central Government.
“Consequently, the said Rule is tantamount to conferring veto powers on the proposed state legislation by the Central government upon the mistaken notion that the government of Delhi is a government department working under the control and supervision of the Central Government,” Sorabjee said in his opinion.
He said it was beyond his comprehension how reference to the Central government can be brought in by the said rule, which is a “piece of colourable legislation”.
The former Attorney General said that in the absence of any prohibition or embargo under the Constitution or the GNCTD Act upon the very introduction of the bill, the TBR rule as framed is “ultra vires” the Constitution and the GNCTD Act.
He also felt that section 22 of the GNCTD Act as a limited application relating only to money bills. Therefore, there is no embargo or restriction of any bill which according to well settled doctrine of pith and substance is not a money bill.”The assembly’s right to introduce a bill or a proposal cannot be curtailed or circumvented directly or indirectly by any rule,” he said.

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