Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley has accused the Centre of not “being sincere” in getting the Lokpal Bill passed in Parliament. The senior BJP leader in a letter to anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare has said while his party has been pursuing the legislation, the government has “diluted” the Bill and is not inclined to allow its passage.
Mr. Hazare had written to the BJP leader to ensure passage of the Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha.
In his reply Mr. Jaitely has said: “My party and I am fully committed to the highest norms of public accountability and therefore believe that the Lokpal should be brought into force immediately.”
Accusing the government of “diluting” the Bill, the BJP leader informed Mr. Hazare that certain suggestions that were made by the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha were dropped. He said the government is not even keen on placing before Parliament the “diluted” Bill.
“The Bill which was approved by the Lok Sabha on 27th December 2011 was neither the Jan Lokpal nor had it measured up to our expectations. The Government used its majority in the Lok Sabha to pass this Bill which would have created the Lokpal not as an independent institution but as a Government controlled entity. Surely, creation of a ‘Sarkari’ Lokpal could not be your objective or ours,” he has written.
Mr,. Jaitely has also said that the “entire Opposition rallied against the provisions contained in the Bill as passed by the Lok Sabha which sought to create the ‘Sarkari Lokpal’. Since we were committed to passing the legislation of the Lokpal , instead of same being rejected , we suggested major amendments which would have created the Lokpal as a credible institution. We had numbers on our side if those amendments would have been carried out.”
The amended Bill then could have been referred back to the Lok Sabha for reconsideration, Mr. Jaitely has said, adding, “…However, the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha chose to adjourn the House sine die thus denying the country an opportunity where one House passed the Bill for creation of credible Lokpal institution.”
Mr. Jaitely said while the Select Committee accepted a large number of their proposals, it also rejected a few. “The Select Committee report is to be placed before the Parliament. It is only the Parliament which is entitled to amend/accept the same. However, the Government has erroneously chosen to place the report before the Cabinet on 31st January 2013 and further diluted the recommendations.”