“Delhi Government has already forwarded complaint against the Speaker to Lokayukta”

While the Delhi Government had itself forwarded the complaint of former Secretary of Delhi Assembly Siddharth Rao against Delhi Speaker Yoganand Shastri to Lokayukta Manmohan Sarin, the Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday criticised the behaviour of Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly V. K. Malhotra for writing a letter to the Lieutenant-Governor urging him to seek the resignation the Speaker in the wake of an order by the Lokayukta in the matter.

Making a statement in the Delhi Assembly, the Chief Minister termed Prof. Malhotra behaviour as “unprecedented”. She said by raising the demand for the Speaker’s ouster, the Opposition BJP has shown great disrespect to the Chair.

Ms. Dikshit criticised Prof. Malhotra’s demand for resignation of the Speaker saying it was “on the basis of unverified allegations of corruption and such cases not even being filed”. Expressing “deep anguish and pain over this sort of uncalled for attitude of the Leader of Opposition”, Ms. Dikshit said the members would like to ask from the Leader of Opposition the ground of his conclusion and questioned if it was based “on fact or just an unverified and motivated report”.

She said the “unsubstantiated remarks” against the Speaker need the strongest condemnation and expressed hope that the Leader of Opposition will be courteous enough to apologise and would never again show such disrespect to the Speaker.

Earlier as soon as the House assembled for start of the Budget Session with the Lieutenant Governor’s Address, Prof. Malhotra had noted that there was a “serious allegation against the Speaker” and had called upon Lieutenant-Governor to “ask him to demit office”. Another senior BJP leader and former Leader of Opposition Jagdish Mukhi was also heard saying that the issue was of “financial fraud”.

Incidentally, the complaint by former Secretary in Delhi Legislative Assembly Siddharth Rao against the Speaker had been filed before the Prime Minister’s Office in May 2012.

The Lokayukta had noted that it had taken a “rather circuitous route” before reaching him. In fact, from the PMO the complaint had was referred to the DoPT from where it got referred to the Secretary to the Lieutenant-Governor for necessary action and thereafter it reached the Office of the Chief Secretary in Delhi Government and then it was forwarded by the Additional Secretary (Vigilance) to the Lokayukta for necessary action.

Thus, the Delhi Government had itself forwarded the complaint to the Lokayukta, knowing full well that “under Section 2(m) (iii) of the Delhi Lokayukta & Upalokayukta Act, 1995, a ‘public functionary’ includes a person of the rank of Minister but does not include the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly”, and this fact was also brought out by Justice Sarin in his order.

However, Ms. Dikshit chose to gloss over this aspect. Even at media interaction, she did not acknowledge that it was actually the Delhi Government which had forwarded the complaint to the Lokayukta.

More In: Delhi