CPI(M) wants Centre to convene a special session in September for passing the Bill

The Left parties said on Monday that the August 30 deadline set by anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare for the Centre to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill was not feasible and suggested that the government convene a special session of Parliament next month for passing the Bill.

Asserting that the CPI(M) wanted an effective Lokpal Bill, general secretary Prakash Karat termed the Bill pending with Parliament “inadequate.” “We are not satisfied with the government Bill, and there is need for a fresh and effective Lokpal.” Nine parties, including the Left, have planned a nationwide protest for Tuesday to demand an effective Lokpal.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP Basudeb Acharia said the Bill could not be passed by August 30, but the government could request the Standing Committee to expedite scrutiny of the Bill and convene a special session in September for its passage. This process should be followed by the framing of rules and notification. “This can happen,” Mr. Acharia said, “if the government has the political will and agrees to make an effective Bill that will cover the office of Prime Minister.” At the same time, the government should constitute a national judicial commission to deal with corruption in the judiciary.

Communist Party of India Parliamentary Party leader Gurudas Dasgupta said the setting of the deadline only highlighted “ignorance of our parliamentary system.” Those demanding strong anti-corruption laws should realise that the action taken in respect of the allegations of corruption in the conduct of the Commonwealth Games and the setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe the 2G spectrum allocation scam showed that MPs were committed to fighting graft.

If justice had to be done to the Lokpal Bill and an effective Lokpal had to be created, different points of view must be accommodated, he argued. “In a multi-party democratic system, there is more than one point of view, and those have to be taken on board.”

Articulating its stand on the issue last month, the CPI(M) said that besides putting in place an effective and independent Lokpal, the government must take steps to strengthen the legal and administrative framework against corruption. It demanded the setting up of a national judicial commission to monitor the conduct of the judiciary; a law to protect the citizens' charter for redress of grievances; an amendment to Article 105 of the Constitution to scrutinise the conduct of MPs for corruption; reforms to check money power in elections; setting up of Lok Ayuktas to monitor the conduct of all public servants in the States; and unearthing and confiscation of black money stashed away in tax havens.

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