The Congress sees as a “super” government the institution of the Lokpal as proposed in the draft Jan Lokpal Bill — it would virtually run a parallel government.
It will be a “demi-God” with supreme powers to run the government, sources within the Congress party feel. It can seek the resignation of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and all Constitutional authorities with the kind of overarching powers that are being envisaged, the sources said.
The Jan Lokpal Bill, proposed by the civil society group that is now spearheading the anti-corruption crusade, seeks to include the Prime Minister, Members of Parliament, bureaucracy and the judiciary within its ambit. The National Advisory Council, chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, has favoured the draft Jan Lokpal Bill.
The activists want the Lokpal's recommendations as binding, empowering it to take suo motu cognisance of matters related to corruption and provision for “recovering” the misappropriated money from an individual which would be deposited in a fund proposed in the Jan Lokpal bill.
Authoritative sources said that powers of a statutory body were always advisory in nature and could never be binding, but that would not mean the recommendations would be totally ignored. As for creating a fund, this was not Constitutionally permissible and hence could not be accepted.
Another area of disagreement is punishment for those filing frivolous complaints, which the activists say should be done away with. However, the government believes this would lead to unnecessary `harassment' at times.
Though admitting that there were some good suggestions also, the sources said the provision of empowering the Lokpal to take suo motu cognisance on complaints from the public could be accommodated.
The Lokpal Bill drafted by the government suggests that action would be taken on the complaints forwarded by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
Similarly, the civil society wants the Lokpal to have powers to file an FIR and investigate cases by merging the CBI. However, the official version has kept the two as separate entities.
“Those supporting the Jan Lokpal Bill and the anti-corruption movement have no stake in the governance and are not aware of the system and its functioning. It is partly political immaturity also,” the sources said.
Another contentious issue confronting the government is identifying the civil society representatives.
“Anyone can claim to be a self-appointed representative. How does one identify civil society representatives?” they asked.