Saturday, August 20, 2011

What I make out of the Lokpal issue

Anna Hazare led protest against the introduction of the Lokpal Bill and the corruption in general seems, at least to me, to have gathered the largest number of supporters to one single cause across the nation than any other non-political or non-religious cause. Emotions run high, as the government struggles to handle the juggernaut of India Against Corruption's (IAC) protest. But as any mass movement, the fundamental questions seem to be left unanswered in the most clear terms.

The most important question I find unanswered among the mayhem, of such emotion and hyper-reporting is "What specifically Anna Hazare fasting for (or against)? Is it to withdraw the government's draft from the parliament so that discussion for the consensus should continue? Is it to table the Jan Lokpal for discussion in the parliament's houses? Or is it to pass it?" Sometimes, I hear IAC say that ultimately they want a "strong" Lokpal Bill to be passed and sometimes, to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill by Aug 31. The fasting, protests and the mayhem has yielded the obvious result. Confusion and lack of clarity

I am clearly against, the present version of the government's Lokpal Bill which excludes the prime minister's office and thousands of other politicians from the Lokpal's reach. So, I am clearly against the passage of the government's version of the Lokpal. On the other hand, Jan Lokpal as explained in this slideshare seems to be pretty sound. For example, contrary to the popular allegation that the Jan Lokpal as proposed by the IAC would be an unelected entity, there is a chance to propose names for Jan Lokpal membership at least for the educated masses and those with access to the medium of electronic communication. I think it is better than the current scenario where the common man has no means to propose names for the vigilance departments like CBI or CVC. Similarly, I also welcome the proposal to empower the Loklpal to file FIR against High Court and Supreme Court judges without the permission of Chief Justice of India.

However these are just parts of the Jan Lokpal Bill, and despite spending some time searching on the Internet, I couldn't find either a draft of the Government's Lokpal Bill or a comparison of the bill with that of the Jan Lokpal bill by a neutral party (neither IAC nor government). So, (against all my gut feelings), I have to allow for the government's draft version to contain at least some element that is worth discussing to be part of the final "strong" lokpal that should be passed. So, I would support Anna's fast fully only if he does so to stop government's version of the bill from being passed thus keeping the Jan Lokpal alive and up for further discussions to take the best out of both versions. But if he wants the Jan Lokpal to be passed thus killing the Government's bill, I must conclude that Anna's (and the IAC's) intentions are "equal but opposite" to that of the government's intentions


Aish said...
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Aish said...


In this post I have mentioned quite a few newspapers and organizations who have compared the JLPB and GLPB. Please take a look.

Badhri said...

Thanks Aish. The one by PRS is what I was looking for.

Driver said...
I especially agree with the last observation. Whatever the outcome of this mayhem, until and unless each person who succumbs to bribing stops, no law will work.