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Updated: August 14, 2011 13:45 IST

Lokpal Bill: Aruna Roy for“broad, public consultation”

Vidya Subrahmaniam
Comment (4)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
Aruna Roy.
Aruna Roy.

The Aruna Roy-led Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghtan (MKSS) has asked for “broad public consultation, across groups and regions” to precede the joint drafting of the Lokpal Bill by civil society and United Progressive Alliance Ministers.

In a signed statement, Ms. Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh of the MKSS congratulated Anna Hazare and his group on the “large scale mobilisation of people against corruption” and on the creation of “space for civil society participation” in formulating the legislation, but at the same time stressed the importance of broadbasing consultations so that the final draft placed before Parliament was “effective and comprehensive” in all respects.

Ever since the agitation started, it has been clear that there are subtle differences between the Hazare-Arvind Kejriwal group, which wanted its version of the Lokpal Bill – or the Jan Lokpal Bill – to be the basis of discussion with the government and civil society activists such as Ms. Roy who have sought the widest possible consultations for the Bill, regardless of which version finally found favour with the stakeholders. As a member of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council, Ms. Roy also heads the NAC's Working Group on Transparency, Accountability and Governance (WG on TA &G) which studied the Jan Lokpal Bill in some detail. Though broadly supportive of the Jan Lokpal Bill, the WG found itself disagreeing with some of its clauses.

Discussion needed

As the NAC Working Group noted later in a statement: “… it was felt that there were many other issues which needed to be revisited and which needed greater discussion on the finer points both of law and of content. Some aspects of the draft Lokpal Bill, yet to be looked at in detail may be considered in the course of the discussions.

“The Lokpal Bill is a very important piece of legislation, which will need wider and more geographically spread consultations than has hitherto occurred. It is only the beginning of a discussion and debate on a seminal legislation, which is the basis of people hoping to build a more ethical and accountable country. In a democratic process, discussions do not often progress in a linear trajectory, particularly if it believes in an inclusive process necessary for a mature piece of legislation.”

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Lokpal bill, once enacted, can be subjected to refinement during Loksabha elections in 2014. A bill can be passed and experienced, loopholes can be identified, and public opinion can be sought during Loksabha elections through ballot. That way, public mandate would be form a guideline for the policy making body (both from civic front as well as the government)and it can use the mandate as a guideline to refine the legislation. I think time has come for the government to seek and include public opinion on the important issues; Loksabha election ballot could serve as a means to do it. It is done in many countries now, as changes in a society are dynamic, and we can no longer afford to stick to laws made in 1861 (Indian police act for example) to fit the current situation.

from:  Sailasree
Posted on: Apr 11, 2011 at 21:48 IST

Once again there is no representation on the so-called 'civil society' panel of any Muslim. When we have Narendra Modi and Baba Ramdev supporting this RSS combine of Hazare and Kejriwal what is to be expected of this farce of public-govt. initiative which is nothing but a clandestine BJP led effort to keep the pressure on the secular Singh-Sonia government.
This Anna is not as straight forward as he seems. Then again why should an illiterate Anna be involved in a legislative exercise of which he has no past experience of... what legislative efforts of his have been passed by even a municipal council let alone an assembly. He thinks he can champion a bill through 2 house of Parliament?

from:  A Housein
Posted on: Apr 11, 2011 at 21:46 IST

Aruna Roy has great credentials from her RTI effort. And, her contributions to the about-to-be drafted Lokpal Bill (as opposed to IAC's Jan Lokpal bill (JLP bill) or the government's useless Lokpal bill (ULP bill)) will be much appreciated.
However, one question does arise: Is Aruna Roy too closely associated with NAC which very conveniently started studying the JLP bill just a day or two before Hazare's fast? (Pl. see Smita Gupta's article dated March 30th http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article1582857.ece where it was claimed that NCPRI and NAC's WG on TA&G were organizing discussions of the Lokpal bills (JLP and ULP) on April 3rd and 4th respectively. And, the government was using that last minute exercise as a proof of progress on corruption.) Also, the present article states "Ever since the agitation started, it has been clear that there are subtle differences between the Hazare-Arvind Kejriwal group, which wanted ..the Jan Lokpal Bill to be the basis of discussion with the government and civil society activists such as Ms. Roy who have sought the widest possible consultations for the Bill..." Now, since when are members of NAC counted as civil society activists? I thought these are mutually exclusive groups.

from:  K Palaka
Posted on: Apr 10, 2011 at 06:23 IST

The bill which is drafted should be put on public domain and comments invited. This way it can be given the widest circulation.

from:  S. Vatsya
Posted on: Apr 10, 2011 at 05:26 IST
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