Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley has questioned the Congress-led UPA government’s reported overdrive to take the ordinance route for anti-corruption Bills.

In a statement here on Tuesday, Mr. Jaitley referred to Article 123 of the Constitution, which deals with the promulgation of ordinances and prescribe two conditions. Firstly, both Houses of Parliament should not be in session and secondly “circumstances exist which render it necessary for him [the President] to take immediate action.”

Referring to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s push to take the ordinance route for anti-graft Bills so that he could claim to be “part of the anti-corruption crusade,” Mr. Jaitley said it was not a circumstance which called for immediate legislation enactment. The Union Cabinet on Sunday preferred deliberations in Parliament instead of the ordinance route to get the pending Bills passed.

“The grim prospects of the ruling party in the forthcoming elections may be a cause for concern for its party leaders. This is, however, an irrelevant consideration when it relates to the ordinance promulgating power. Why were these Bills not approved earlier? Why can’t they wait for the June session of Parliament? These are relevant questions which the President is entitled to ask,” Mr. Jaitley said.

The senior BJP leader said the President could not defy the advice of the Council of Ministers but he could raise important queries and could have sent back the ordinances for reconsideration. He said the President could have consulted experts and heard contrarian opinions from within the political spectrum. “A President could have used this constitutional and moral authority to enforce the Constitution,” he said.

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