M A I N   N E W S

Uncivil comments by Aruna Roy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 16
Another meeting on the Jan Lokpal Bill at Nehru Memorial adjoining the historic Teen Murti Bhavan saw civil society members voicing apprehensions on the unlimited powers that the Lokpal would enjoy if an anti-corruption Bill, as envisaged by Hazare-Kejriwal group in the joint drafting committee, becomes a reality.

“The attempt is not to junk the Bill but we don’t want to create a Frankenstein either,” leading social activist and member of Sonia Gandhi-headed National Advisory Council Aruna Roy said at the meeting convened by social rights group NCPRI. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” she warned.

According to NCPRI member Shekhar Singh, accountability of the Loppal is exceedingly important. “Not just for the 11 persons at the top but at the level of vigilance officers in districts, where it may become the most lucrative post to hold,” he says. Ever since the agitation started, differences have emerged with the Hazare-Arvind Kejriwal group, which wanted its version of the Jan Lokpal Bill to be the basis of discussion with the government. An issue on which it particularly does not agree is the setting of deadlines, first for the Bill to be finalised and then passed by the Parliament.

The Aruna Roy-led Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghtan has asked for “broad public consultation, across groups and regions” to precede the joint drafting of the Lokpal Bill by civil society and UPA Ministers. There is a need for a strong anti-corruption bill but not at the cost of quality, Roy says, emphasising on need for large-scale public consultations and, more importantly, accountability of those who were being entrusted to hold others accountable through the Jan Lokpal Bill. “Other people who are interested in the Bill should generate discussions and present it to the government,” she adds.

Incidentally, members insisted that today’s meeting should not be termed as a “parallel meeting” since it had been planned much earlier. Roy said today’s meeting had originally been planned as a meeting of NAC’s Working Goup on Transparency and Accountability meeting on NAC, which was earlier shelved.





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