23 December 2011

Lokpal Bill Tabled in Parliament; Team Anna, BJP Rejects

The Congress-led UPA government has tabled the Lok Sabha 2011 in the Lok Sabha only to be welcomed by severe criticisms and opposition, both from the civil society and the political parties.

Team Anna has mocked the Lokpal bill prepared by the Government and called it “anti-people, dangerous and useless.” The Bharatiya Janata Party condemned the unconstitutional" minority quota provision in the legislation and demanded the government to withdraw the bill immediately.
The Congress-led UPA

BJP leader and leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj objected this particular provision and told, "We are disappointed. This is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has given dozens of rulings stating that any reservation should not be more than 50 percent.” “It is important we make a law that is not patently unconstitutional and later rejected in the court of law," she said.

In a strong counter attack, Finance Minister and Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee, said, “This is not just a piece of law. There is an agitation on in the country for the Bill and a committee has been working to bring this Bill. If a bill is struck by courts it doesn't mean that Parliament doesn't pass the bill. It is for the courts to judge the constitutional of a bill. Our job is to make and pass the bill. Let the court do their job, we will do our job.”

Anna Hazare rejected the bill saying “it is a betrayal of the people and the legislation would not provide for a strong anti-graft institution.” Anna challenged Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi for a public debate to justify the proposed bill as a strong one. Anna said that the new bill is useless as it does not have direct control over CBI and the lower bureaucracy. He was also quoted saying "Sonia Gandhi says the bill is strong. If it is so, let she come out and debate with us in front of media. Let people see it. Convince the people of the country that it is strong. We will explain how it is not strong."

Kiran Bedi, member of Team Anna said, “The draft prepared by the government should be rejected and condemned in the strongest terms. This draft has several loose ends and due to this, the rational of the anti-graft legislation has been lost completely.”Referring to CBI being controlled by the government, she also was quoted saying “Of what use has a body's power to merely inquire ever been, if the investigation that follows the inquiry will be controlled by the government?”

Anna and his team do not want CBI out of the administrative control of the bill as he says that the biggest victims of corruption are the poor who have to pay bribes to get any work done and that the ‘weak’ bill will not help the poor in their fight against corruption.

Team Anna also says the Prime Minister is provided with too many safeguards from investigation by the Lokpal and any inquiry against him would need a sanction of three-fourth of the Lokpal members in non-public proceedings and they would have no access through the Right to Information Act.

As the bill is tabled in the Lok Sabha, the anti-graft legislation will now be discussed during Parliament's extended session on December 27.