Anna Hazare will sit on an indefinite fast again in New Delhi from August 16 demanding the withdrawal of the government-approved version of the Bill.
Team Anna on Thursday rejected the Lokpal Bill approved by the Union Cabinet as a “cruel joke” and said it would be struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. It declared that the anti-corruption crusader, Anna Hazare, would go on fast unto death here from August 16 demanding a revised Bill.
Announcing their decision to go back to people, the civil society members said the government had agreed to set up a joint drafting panel in April because it saw the people's force behind Mr. Hazare's agitation. Several surveys done by them had shown that people wanted the Prime Minister and higher judiciary under the purview of the Bill.
Social activist Arvind Kejriwal said the Bill was not acceptable to them and they would go on indefinite fast.
“People who voted Ministers and MPs to Parliament want a strong Lokpal. What is there for the common man in this Lokpal Bill? There is nothing that will tackle corruption in the day-to-day life of aam aadmi. This Bill does not even address scams like Adarsh, Commonwealth Games and 2G.”
Expressing disappointment at the government leaving out a majority of the points raised by the civil society, lawyer Prashant Bhushan said the decision to exclude the office of the Prime Minister from the purview of the Bill would not stand scrutiny of the court.
Alleging that the five Ministers who were part of the joint panel had displayed “total illiteracy” of the constitutional law, he said the Bill would be struck down by the Supreme Court “within a minute” if they give immunity to Prime Minister.
To a question, Mr. Bhushan said if the court denied permission to the activists for the agitation from August 16, they would approach the Supreme Court or court arrest. “We will take appropriate decision at the right time.”
Non-starter: Kiran Bedi
IPS officer Kiran Bedi said: “This Bill provides for Lokpal to have an advisory function. It is a non-starter.”