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2 of 4 experts he quotes say AAP never asked us about Jan Lokpal

Author: Dipankar Ghose
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: February 8, 2014
URL: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/2-of-4-experts-he-quotes-say-aap-never-asked-us-about-jan-lokpal/

Mishra said the AAP’s Lokpal bill was not brought up in his written communication with the party at all.

Two of the four legal experts Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed had supported his party’s position that it is unconstitutional for the Centre to clear all Bills that have to be passed by the state Assembly, said Friday AAP did not ask them any questions about the controversial Jan Lokpal Bill and they did not give any opinion on it.

In his letter to Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung, Kejriwal said AAP had consulted former chief justice of Punjab and Haryana, Mukul Mudgal, former additional solicitor general of India, K N Bhat, and senior advocates P V Kapur and Pinaki Mishra.
 Kejriwal wrote that the four experts had opined that a Union home ministry order that all Bills have to be cleared by the Centre before being passed by the Delhi Assembly was unconstitutional.

However, Bhat and Mishra told The Indian Express that they had not been asked specifically about getting central approval before introducing the Jan Lokpal Bill.

“My opinion was not sought on the Jan Lokpal Bill or about the Assembly’s competence to discuss it – nor did I express any opinion on them,” Bhat said in an email response.

Mishra said the AAP’s Lokpal bill was not brought up in his written communication with the party at all.

Bhat said he had been asked a specific question on the constitutionality of the Union home ministry order.

In his reply Bhat opined that while the regulation was invalid, the Lieutenant-Governor would have to “bow down” to it as long as it exists.

“My opinion was sought on the constitutional validity of this rule/regulation. I opined that a rule making authority cannot nullify the Assembly’s powers conferred by Article 239AA (3)a – hence invalid. But the forum that can adjudicate the validity is the high court/Supreme Court. The LG has to bow down to the regulation and act accordingly so long as it exists,” he said in the email.
 Mishra said he was asked “if all Delhi Bills had to be cleared by the Centre”.

“I told them that not all bills have to be cleared by the Centre. Only some of them have to. Otherwise, there would be no relevance of the Delhi Assembly. However, I was not asked if the Lokpal Bill would have to be cleared by the Centre. That question was not put to me at all,” Mishra said.

Mudgal and Kumar could not be reached for comment.
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