Lokpal Bill hanging fire for 42 years

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  1. SpArK

    SpArK SORCERER Senior Member

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    Lokpal Bill hanging fire for 42 years

    Successive governments have tried to put in place for the past 42 years a law that would enable citizens to sue even the most powerful arm of the state for corruption.

    The short-lived IK Gujral government made an unsuccessful attempt in 1996 to pass the Lokpal bill, a proposed enactment that had fallen five times since 1968.

    AB Vajpayee’s NDA governments in 1998 and 2001 also made similar failed bids.

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in September 2004 that the Congress-led UPA government would lose no time in enacting the bill. But a small clique in the UPA and a strong lobby in the opposition, which has always felt that transparency isn’t conducive to a multi-party government, blocked it.

    The Lokpal Bill, 2010, which awaits a select committee’s nod, provides for filing complaints of corruption against the prime minister, other ministers, and MPs with the ombudsman.

    Corruption in various segments of public life is eating into the vitals of our nation. India has slipped from 84th to 87th position on the global corruption perception index. As a result, we have 1 lakh billionaires and 8.7 crore below-poverty-line families (about 40 crore people).

    A Raja, former telecommunications minister in the UPA government, is alleged to have deprived the exchequer of Rs1.76 lakh crore. The key players in the Commonwealth Games scandal also belong to the ruling Congress.

    Former chief justice of the Delhi high court and rights activist Rajinder Sachar, however, says the Lokpal Bill is “shamefully toothless and meant just to give a false reassurance to the people that the government is serious in its fight against corruption”.

    On the other hand, former chief justice of India MN Venkatachelliah, who had headed a national committee to review the working of the Constitution set up by the Vajpayee government, has recommended that the prime minister be kept out of the Lokpal’s purview since “he occupies a unique position and is head of the entire governmental structure”.

    But it would be worth an exercise to examine the issue in the light of the Raja row.

    http://www.dnaindia.com/india/column_lokpal-bill-hanging-fire-for-42-years_1489476
     
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