NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF PEOPLE’S MOVEMENTS
National Office : A Wing First Floor, Haji Habib Building, Naigaon Cross Road
Dadar (E), Mumbai – 400 014. Phone – 9969363065;
Delhi Office : 6/6 jangpura B, New Delhi – 110 014 . Phone : 9818905316
Lokpal Aur Shasakpal ?
Mockery of the People and Parliament need to Stop
Join Protests from 27th December to Protect People’s Right to Satyagraha
New Delhi, December 23 : The Bill ultimately presented in the Parliament by the UPA government is not just disappointing but insulting for the people and their representatives with the turbulence within parties and the role of the people vis-a-vis Parliament. Whom does it try to protect, is also a big question ? Appraising the details of the Lokpal Authority proposed, any sensible and sensitive person or organisation would surely assert, it’s protecting the government, those in power, the politicians and not the people. It may better be termed Shasakpal and not Lokpal.
The ultimate result of the intense dialogues to wider national debate on the issue has not only led to an empowerment of people but to clarifying the role and status of the electorate vis-a-vis the elected. It’s obvious that a large percentage of the “We the People of India” have supported the People’s Bill, ‘Janlokpal’ – proposing an independent multi-layered, comprehensive authority to deal with the corrupt, complaints against them and mitigate corruption. The Lokpal Bill on the other hand, is left with a body, which neither has the power for investigation into serious complaints nor for grievance redressal and compliance, hence of little or no strength.
Dissecting the ‘Lokpal’ into three or four separate Bill – Citizen’s Charter and Grievance redressal Bill, Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill and Whistleblower Protection Bill is not to make it ‘Constitutional’ but rather ‘Compartmental’ to the extent of making it ineffective. Keeping the present structure of CBI, CVC, Police intact and out of the preview of the Anti Corruption Authority, united through multiple levels as in Janlokpa Bill, devoid of political (government) intervention but at the same time within the constitutional framework, inspite of some strengthening is avoiding any radical and yet reasonable solution.
Some Unanswered Questions
- Why can’t corruption behind non-redressal of grievances be dealt with under Lokpal through Public Grievances Redressal Officer – to Judicial Officers – to Lokpal ?
- Why can’t C and D (wherever it exists even after Sixth pay Commission) categories of Employees be brought under Lokpal for the Central Government and Lokayukta for States.
- Why can’t corruption cases under CBI be under Lokpal with administrative Control even for Investigation ?
- Why should the corrupt Justices, supposed to be protectors and defenders of justice be out ? Why can’t MPs be in, when they are corrupt, beyond their right to expression.
There are no clear and rational answers to any of these questions ?
Question of Reservations
No doubt, whatever has happened is more due to the people’s wish expressed through their people’s movements than the political will; which was lacking over 48 years ! However, every time, as in the case of women’s reservation Bill, the finalisation is getting postponed under some pretext. Whether it’s making Lokpal a Constitutional Authority or reservations in Lokpal Committee members or staff, we need not oppose or question. We are for a just and strong authority. But are all legal and constitutional angles in religion based reservation dealt with ? No. The matter is before Supreme Court and Subjudice.
Laloo Prasad Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan, SP and BSP or any other Party while expecting a vote from Dalits and minorities, may continue to pursue the cause of representation through reservations but atleast meanwhile, should facilitate the Anti-Corruption Act with all Government Employees, including C & D and all corrupt citizens which would be the most pro-dalit, pro-poor and pro-Constitution position. If they are conscious of sanctity of the Constitution, they should be upholding bringing all the citizens including the MPs themselves under the Lokpal Act, following Article 14.
Questions raised by BJP at the last moment on the inclusion of the Lokayuktas in States going against the federal structure is not understandable since they should have followed the option of insistence of a strong Act with respect to both Lokpal and Lokayukta but not leave it open unless they too want to permit the State’s like Gujarat to go without Lokayukta inspite of tall claims. What worth federalism, if the states are not fulfilling their obligation as regards State subjects such as water and not incorporating the letter and spirit of the enabling Acts like PESA, 1996 till date in their respective state level Panchayati Raj Acts ?
The extended session of Parliament from 27th – 29th is their last chance to fulfill this expectation on this most serious judgement. People are watching. No party should insult the Parliament resolution, the constitutional mandate.
Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey, Prafulla Samantara, Anand Mazgaonkar