Anti-Corruption

Opposition Unhappy With Lok Pal Committee

Amnah Khalid,  BeyondHeadlines

New Delhi: Popular unity on the Jan Lok Bill against corruption has come under scrutiny. Members of the opposition today cried foul over mishandling of the selection process of the drafters of the Bill.

A BJP leader said: “They should have had Sitaram Yechury and Arun Jaitley in the committee to not let Parliament be bypassed by these so-called civil society members. But because the Congress is an arrogant party, they believe they can counter any political move – even one that threatens the sanctity of the political and legislative process.”

Anna Hazare on his fast at Jantar Mantar (Photo: Vaibhav Bhardwaj)

With not a single opposition in the drafting committee, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not happy. The government should have been ready for a debate in Parliament but with recent remarks made by Pranab Mukherjee; this is questionable and looks like government testing the waters of how far it could go with the opposition.

Mukherjee, who is the leader of the Lok Sabha (lower house of Indian Parliament), said: “The BJP is the principal opposition party. If he (L.K.Advani) prevails upon his members, we shall be too glad to get it passed without sending it to the Parliamentary Standing Committee.” Opposition leaders are not taking the matter lightly with some openly complaining.

Samajwadi Party MP Mohan Singh openly attacked the government for “succumbing to pressure”. “This is a weak-kneed and ineffective government. When the standing committee has already given its recommendations on an already existing Lokpal Bill, how could it agree to draft another similar legislation? Then you form a committee which has no Opposition member. The ministers and the civil society have taken it upon themselves to bring a fresh Bill in Parliament. This is highly inappropriate,” he said.

“Is bribe and money-exchange the only kind of corruption that afflicts our system? What about corruption at the level of policy formation and corporate corruption? Sentiments are fine, but such issues have to be deliberated in a mature fashion,” an MP from the Left party said.

‘Civil Society’ wants the Lok Pal to be a powerful institution, with the power to make laws, implement them and punish those breaking the law, all at the same time.

However, the catch is in the appointment of the Lok Pal, who can be anyone from a Bharat Ratan Awardee to a Nobel Prize Winner of Indian Origin.

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