Civil society representatives led by activist Anna Hazare told a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Wednesday that it should reject the draft of the Lokpal Bill comprehensively and ask the government to draft a new law.
The representatives led by Hazare, who has been campaigning for a ‘strong’ anti-graft legislation since April and is set to resume an indefinite hunger strike from August 16, were invited by the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice chaired by Congress’ Abhishek Manu Singhvi. The committee is mandated with fine-tuning the Lokpal Bill, 2011, introduced by the government at the beginning of the monsoon session.
“We told them it needs to be comprehensively rejected and the government should be told to make a different bill,” said Arvind Kejriwal, a key figure in the campaign. The team made a presentation to the committee highlighting all the features they had wanted in the bill but are not part of the government draft.
Kejriwal said parliamentary rules allow only amendments to a certain extent to a bill that has been presented by the government. “Amendments to a bill presented by the government cannot change the scope of the bill, according to the rules.
We want Lokayuktas in the states to also be part of the same bill. This changes the scope of the bill and can be done only if a new bill is introduced,” Kejriwal said, adding that the team placed that demand before the committee.
During the very public back and forth between ministers and Hazare representatives on the joint drafting committee, the activists were told that they could approach the standing committee to effect changes that were not part of the draft introduced by the government. Economic Times