Hazare should have waited, says Santosh Hegde

Karnataka Lokayukta Justice N. Santosh Hegde  

Karnataka Lokayukta Justice N. Santosh Hegde has expressed his reservations over activist Anna Hazare's decision to fast until the Union government passes the Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizens' ombudsman Bill).

Mr. Hegde, who, along with Mr. Hazare and others, helped draft the Bill, said: “I wish he [Hazare] had waited for some time.”

He was speaking to The Hindu on Tuesday after returning from New Delhi, where he participated in a consultation called by the National Advisory Council (NAC) to discuss the Bill.

Mr. Hegde said Mr. Hazare should have at least waited until the NAC placed its recommendations before the government.

He said a committee appointed by the NAC pored over the Jan Lokpal Bill, clause by clause, for two days. The panel met people from different walks of life and took their views on the possibility of such a Bill being passed.

“The committee will place its findings before the government. The government should be given at least a fortnight to decide before we react,” Mr. Hegde said.

However, he conceded that Mr. Hazare's move might have been prompted by a degree of cynicism over the fact that the idea of an anti-corruption ombudsman had been hanging fire for 46 years.

Difference of opinion

Responding to claims that the federation of activists and citizens, which drafted the Bill, was a divided house, Mr. Hegde said there was bound to be diversity in opinion when so many parties were involved.

He confirmed that he had reservations about some of the clauses in the draft. However, the draft was evolved after a thoroughly democratic process.

He also sought to draw attention to the fact that the Lokpal Bill was drafted by the government.

Terming it an “eyewash,” Mr. Hegde said that though he did not agree with all the clauses of the Jan Lokpal Bill, it was a much more progressive document than the government's Lokpal Bill.

“There is nothing in the government's Bill. It merely provides that when the Speaker receives a complaint, he can forward it to the Lokpal. The Lokpal is expected to submit an investigation report back to the Speaker. And it is not binding on the Speaker to act upon these findings.”

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 12:11:38 AM |

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