India is "not a lawless republic" where anyone can take the law into their own hands, Congress on Monday said as it underlined its opposition to the path adopted by AAP for bringing in the Jan Lokpal Bill.
The party, however, made it clear that the above issue was not linked to its support to the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi. "It is no rocket science that if there is a law, you have to follow it. We are not a lawless republic. You are saying you want to take law into your own hands... Under the rules, prior approval through the Lieutenant Governor is required (for tabling the Bill in the Assembly)," Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters here.
Kejriwal has been maintaining that there was no need for his government to obtain prior approval from the Centre while BJP and Congress have insisted that such clearance was necessary under the Transaction of Business Rules, 2002. Kejriwal has said that he would resign if the Jan Lokpal Bill is not passed. Asked about the Delhi chief minister's stand, Singhvi said, "There is no question of my reacting to somebody else's action.
What will we comment on somebody who is beyond our party's discipline and control." Meanwhile, to frequent assertions by Kejriwal that a former solicitor general and others have supported his views on the matter, Singhvi said that, "An opinion cannot override rules. Go to court. No one's opinion is above law. Is AAP the court? Is anyone's legal opinion the court?"
But he stressed that Congress was not thinking about withdrawing its support to the AAP government over the issue. "Please do not connect it with withdrawal of support. Our principled opposition on this issue is not related to withdrawal of support.
"Our support is very limited to ensure that in the event of a trust vote, the eight MLAs of Congress should not be a reason why the government fell," he added.
As the row continues, Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on Monday sought the Union Law Ministry's opinion on whether it was necessary for Delhi government to obtain prior approval from the Centre before tabling the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Assembly.
In his reply to a letter from Kejriwal, Jung told the Delhi chief minister that, as per Rule 34 of the Transaction of Business of the Government of NCT of Delhi Rules, 1993, a draft bill should be sent to the Lt Governor before it is placed before the Council of Ministers, which was not done in the case of the Jan Lokpal Bill.