Real test for Parties in States: Kapil Sibal
By U Anand Kumar | Published: 18th December 2013 09:31 AM |
The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Revised Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill 2011 which provides for formation of an anti-graft ombudsman.
The government had accepted all but 3 recommendations of the select committee of Rajya Sabha, including the key recommendation to delink the mandatory creation of Lokayuktas by the State governments. The main opposition BJP and the regional parties had opposed the mandatory provision saying it would go against the federal structure.
Replying to the debate on the Bill, Law Minister Kapil Sibal hoped all states will take this as a model Act and set up Lokayuktas within a year. “We can’t give directions to the states. The real test for political parties is how quick they pass it in the states,” he said.
Referring to suggestions made by some members that the PM should not be brought under the ambit of Lokpal, he said, “There is a large consensus that the PM should be included in Lokpal.”
On the demand for inclusion of NGOs, the Minister said the supply side of corruption is taken care of in the Prevention of Corruption Amendment Bill, which is pending in Lok Sabha.
Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, welcomed the changes accepted by the government in the Bill. Maintaining there is a lot of scope for improvement in the present Lokpal Bill, he however objected to the provision of religion-based appointments in Lokpal, saying such kind of reservations were not permitted by the Constitution.
Jaitley expressed satisfaction at the government accepting the Select Committee recommendation that organisations accepting private donations should not be brought under the Lokpal as it will overburden it.
Pointing out that the government is trying to act on the demand side of corruption, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said that leaving out the supply side will not do good. He advocated that companies involved in the PPP model projects, should be included in the Lokpal.
Trinamool Congress leader Sukendu Roy Chaudhry wanted to know why only the retired CJIor former SC judges should head the Lokpal as their integrity has also come under criticism in recent times.
AIADMK leader V Maitreyan demanded that the PM and CM should not be included in the Lokpal and Lokayukta respectively. Ramalingam of DMK said the Chief Minister should be included in the Lokayukta.