Scepticism about the efficacy of the proposed Lokpal Bill was evident in a discussion organised by the Madras Institute of Development Studies here on Friday.

Resource person Usha Ramanathan, honorary fellow of the Institute of Development Studies, New Delhi, who traced the history of such a legislation which could not get Parliament's nod for the past four decades, admitted that there were many doubts regarding the scope of the Bill to be drafted, method of appointment of the members, and the powers of this body including sanctioning of the prosecution, investigation and punishment.

She pointed out that the scope, which was nothing but the “vigilance angle,” itself was a bone of contention. Besides, whether creation of one more organisation that would eliminate Central Vigilance Commission and eat into the powers of Central Bureau of Investigation would be an exercise in futility? Also, with enormous powers will it become a “monster?”

However, she was certain the appointment of members of Lokpal should be based on their “character, quality and capacity including honesty and intelligence.” She also stressed the need for vesting prosecution sanctioning powers with the Lokpal as government's deliberate hesitation in this regard was a major issue. An ombudsperson to ensure that the powers of the Lokpal were not abused was also necessary, she added.

Keywords: Lokpal Bill