Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde on Saturday said the government was unlikely to accept all suggestions given by the members representing civil society and forming part of the committee constituted to redraft the Lokpal Bill.
He told an interactive session here that the government would insist upon protecting its ilk — bureaucrats and politicians. He said there was no honest interest on the part of the government in creating an effective Lokpal. It was because of this reason that bureaucrats had been kept out of the purview of the Bill already drafted.
He urged the people not to harbour pessimism over the Bill, set to be drafted by a 10-member committee of which he was a member.
Mr. Hegde was replying to a question by a student who asked him whether the proposed Bill would incorporate a provision to ensure that it was not amended in future to dilute it.
“Unlimited pessimism leads to cynicism,” he advised her.
He said the government in Karnataka was said to be scared of the Lokayukta, according to a media report. This could happen with the Lokpal. But in a democracy there could be no provision that prevented future amendments. The actions of legislatures were subject to judicial review, Mr. Hegde said. If the Act was diluted, people of a participatory democracy should rise to the occasion and question them. He pointed out that all Bills were to be subjected to public debate before being discussed and passed in Parliament.
Mr. Hegde criticised the view that representatives of civil society should not exert pressure on the due process of legislature in drafting a bill as was being suggested in a section of the media. But for the wide public support for the Anna Hazare-led agitation, the Lokpal Bill could have met the fate of previous futile attempts.
He said people were under the wrong impression that the Lokayukta or the Lokpal was meant only to curb corruption. Such institutions should provide remedy to people on complaints of maladministration, he said. There was a provision encompassing this under the rules governing the Lokayukta in Karnataka, he said.