‘Smooth Passage of Lokpal Bill in Parliament is Almost Satisfactory’ - The New Indian Express

‘Smooth Passage of Lokpal Bill in Parliament is Almost Satisfactory’

Published: 19th December 2013 10:12 AM

Last Updated: 19th December 2013 10:16 AM

I am very happy that the Lokpal Bill has been approved by the Parliament though it was delayed. It will be enacted once the President signs it. More than 49 years ago, the first Administration Reforms Committee (ARC) had recommended ombudsman.

The need to have an ombudsman was felt by the Government of India in early 1960s. The committee made enquiries and came to a conclusion that the ombudsman system in Scandinavia was best suited for India. Those countries are recognised as the honest countries by the Transparency International and they remain as the most honest countries.

In 2010, Anna Hazare movement woke up the entire country and he got support from a huge population. Those supporters were either victims of corruption or maladministration. However, that movement also failed in spite of promises made by the parliamentarians. And, in 2013, Anna had to sit again on a protest fast. I feel the Delhi Assembly election results also played a role in the speedy approval of the bill in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

In the context of long fight, I would say the passing of the Lokpal bill in Lok Sabha is really gratifying and almost satisfactory.

The reason I say almost satisfactory is that though it was cleared in both the houses, it has some deficiencies. However, the people have waited enough and if need be, later we can ask for amendments.

These deficiencies can be addressed because, at present, the bill is much stronger than when it was introduced in 2011.

Then, Lok Sabha accepted it, but Rajya Sabha sent it to Select Committee. This time, some changes were made in Rajya Sabha and also some in Lok Sabha. The deficiencies have reduced substantially. Some important features of the bill are inclusion of Prime Minister, which should not have been an issue, hence nobody is above law, about control over the CBI regarding restrictions on transfer of official probing a case.

More importantly, the clause that stated advance notice before starting the investigation has been removed.

 (As told to Ambarish B)

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