Prashant Bhushan’s Queries On Lokpal Warrants Response

Al Arafat Sherfuddeen

November 30th, 2015

Image Courtesy: jantakareporter

Prashant Bhushan a veteran anti-corruption activist and formerly a close associate of the incumbent Delhi Chief minister Mr Arvind Kejriwal has strongly criticized the recently tabled Lokpal bill in the Delhi Assembly. Some of the criticism and queries raised warrants adequate response and clarification from the Delhi Government.

a) State Government vs Central Government

What the present bill intends – The Lokpal bill tabled includes in its ambit an act of corruption done by any individual residing in Delhi thereby including all the ministers of the central government among others. This contrary to the version of the bill drafted by the IAC movement which segregated Lokpal for Central Government and Lokayuktas for the state with no overlaps. Prashant Bhushan believes the central government would without a doubt reject this bill and in the eventuality AAP could play the ‘victim’ card. He further implies there could be a deliberate attempt by the Delhi Government to take a path of confrontation with the central government.

The Logical Indian believes if the central government is committed to eradicate corruption, there is nothing to fear and they should be forthcoming in coming under the ambit of the Delhi Lokpal bill. However given the allegations leveled by Prashant Bhushan, The Logical Indian feels Delhi AAP government owes a clarification and re-ascertaining its intentions on the same.

b) Who will investigate?

The present bill has stated, the investigations will be carried out by governmental agencies ie Lokpal will not have a independent investigative agency. This is contrary to the stance taken by the Anti- corruption movement and quite rightly pointed out by Prashant Bhushan.

The Logical Indian believes lack of an independent investigative agency will handicap the process of nabbing the corrupt. To depend on government agencies will raise questions on the credibility and the potential outcome of such an investigation. The Logical Indian seeks a detailed explanation on the reason for contradicting on the previous stance taken by Mr Arvind Kejriwal on the issue of investigating agency.

c) On the question of removal of the Lokpal

The previous version of the bill allows the removal by the president on the recommendation of the High Court whilst in the present version it can be effected by an order of the Lieutenant Governor passed with a two-thirds majority in the Legislative Assembly. Thereby circumventing the judicial route and making the Lokpal dependent and perhaps at the mercy of the Delhi Assembly overwhelmingly occupied by AAP legislators.

The Logical Indian believes the removal of Lokpal should be a Judicial process rather than a legislative one. A legislative removal will strangulate the independence with which the Lokpal could function . The Logical Indian requests the government to re-assess the provision and initiate a debate on the same before finalizing it.

Some of the other points raised includes :

a) The method of appointing the Lokpal.

b) Ruling out of review of any of its orders, proceedings, decisions or reports by any court or tribunal.

The Logical Indian requests the Delhi Government to adequately respond to the queries raised and perhaps have an open debate on the issue for such a debate will enlighten the citizens as whole on Lokpal and its intricacies. A participatory approach, something which Mr Arvind Kejriwal himself is a strong advocate of should set an example by debating on the same.

Even while The Logical Indian has opinionated on the same we request our community members to share their thoughts, opinions, agreements and disagreements on the issue of Lokpal. Your opinion strengthens our voice and argument.

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