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Thursday, July 28, 2011

LOK PAL BILL: Team Anna rejects Lokpal Bill cleared by Union Cabinet!


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PTI / The Hindu / NEW DELHI, July 28, 2011.

Civil Society activists Kiran Bedi and Prashant Bhushan during a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday.
Civil Society activists Kiran Bedi and Prashant Bhushan during a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday - PTI.

Anna Hazare will sit on an indefinite fast again in New Delhi from August 16 demanding the withdrawal of the government-approved version of the Bill.

The Anna Hazare team on Thursday dismissed the Lokpal Bill approved by government as a “cruel joke” which will be struck down as unconstitutional by Supreme Court “within a minute” and said the Gandhian will sit on an indefinite fast here from August 16 demanding its withdrawal.

Accusing the government of bringing a “fractured Lokpal” for corporates and to “fool” people, the activists said they may challenge the Bill if passed by Parliament in its present form by keeping the Prime Minister out its ambit.

“The entire country will protest with me at Jantar Mantar on August 16...This is not Hazare’s protest but the entire country’s. The people need to look at this as a second fight for their freedom and they should all come out on the streets,” Mr. Hazare said in Maharashtra’s Ralegaon Siddi.

His asscociate Arvind Kejriwal told reporters in New Delhi that Mr. Hazare’s fast will be to demand withdrawal of the Bill cleared by the Cabinet and bring a stronger law in place of the bill, which he alleged would not give any succour to common people in the fight against corruption.

The Bill proposes to keep the office of Prime Minister outside its purview during his term in office besides excluding higher judiciary and conduct of MPs inside Parliament.

Disappointed at the government “leaving out majority” of the points raised by the civil society, lawyer Prashant Bhushan said the government’s decision to exclude the office of Prime Minister from the ambit of Lokpal would not stand the scrutiny of court.

01) For over four decades the Lok Pal hasn't been established at all due to differences of opinion on the inclusion of the Top-4 Constitutional Offices under its purview;

02) Now, for the first time the Government is ready to introduce a Lok Pal Bill, without including the PM and other top Constitutional Officers;

03) It still has to get passed in the Parliament and we will have to wait and see what stand the present leadership of various political parties would take on this Government's Draft;

04) I, personally, never wanted an omnibus bill that would include higher judiciary under Lok Pal's purview, contrary to the views of the Team-Anna, whom we all have been supporting so far;

05) My own reading of the mood of the intelligentsia is that they are tired of not having a Lok Pal in the first place and are unwilling to continue to fight for some Utopian Lok Pal, which the political parties - who ultimately decide the fate of the Lok Pal Bill in the Parliament - would never accept;

06) As for Team-Anna, they should realise that this time around there wouldn't be much support the way people have backed their initiative in the past, due to shear tiredness of the issue getting dragged on for too long;

07) Finally, let there be a Lok Pal in place, to start with and let the future generations of Parliamentarians, Intelligentsia and the Public amend it from time to time, as per the need of the times;


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