Social activist Anna Hazare on Wednesday appealed to the Union Cabinet to come out with a Lokpal Bill that has “the right structure and strong foundation.”
Asserting that the government's version of the Bill that was presented in the joint drafting committee meeting fell short of people's expectations, Mr. Hazare said it did not address the day-to-day corruption faced by the common man.
In the expectation that the draft Bill will come up in the meeting of the Union Cabinet on Thursday, Mr. Hazare urged the Cabinet to “change the history of India” by sending a strong Lokpal Bill to Parliament.
“It is a rare opportunity for the United Progressive Alliance government to change the history of India. We sincerely appeal to the Union Cabinet to present a strong Lokpal Bill in Parliament,” he said.
According to joint drafting committee member Arvind Kejriwal, Parliament would be able to rectify anomalies in a draft bill that has a strong base. “But if the structure is weak, the Bill will remain ineffective.”
The civil society members had sought setting up the Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta in the States through the same Bill. They also raised questions about the structure of the Lokpal — whether it would be an 11-member body with all the powers concentrated in it or with delegated powers and functions.
Also, there were questions about the Lokpal's jurisdiction on the entire bureaucracy and on merger of the CBI's anti-corruption branch with the Lokpal.
“The government claims that it wants to tackle high-level corruption. However, none of the large scams of recent times like the Adarsh Housing scam, the Commonwealth Games scam, the Reddy Brothers mining scam, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha scam, the cash-for-vote scam, the fodder scam or the Taj corridor scam is covered by the government's Lokpal,” pointed out Prashant Bhushan, also a panel member.
Mr. Hazare has threatened to go on indefinite fast if the government failed to take to Parliament a strong and effective Lokpal Bill.
However, perceptions differ on what is a “strong and effective” Lokpal.