Posted by: Bagewafa | جنوری 9, 2012

Lokpal-Jan lokpal Bill– Buddhdev Pandya

   

Lokpal-Jan lokpal Bill– Buddhdev Pandya

This week the debate on the Lokpal Bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha by the Government was adjourned at the disgust of opponents who thought that it was not strong enough to tackle the rampant corruption in the political and government services. Congress Party with no absolute majority as part of its manifesto commitment succeeded in getting it through the Lok Sabha, the Lower House with the help of some of its associated in the collation Government.
The main opposition BJP holds majority in the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House, and combined with other minority parties, each jostling for votes in the round of local elections due in early next year, occupied a great deal of time allocated for the debate in the House. Flooding the special session with over 180 resolutions each requiring discussion and response from the Government benches rendered the Rajya Sabha to decide adjournment of the session at the midnight. It sparked flurry of accusations and victorious noises from political parties left the Congress Party licking its wounds and wondering how to pick up the political fallout of all these.
A member of Team Anna interpreted that the outcome was a big boost for their Campaign against Congress. In recent weeks they had to call off their rally of a three day hunger strike in Mumbai after it showed a poor turnout from its predicted crowd. Some political observers read it as a great relief for the Congress as bill was not defeated but lived to see another day giving a window of opportunity to negotiate with the descending groups. While the BJP made the most of the episode by relying on their publicity machinery to scoop maxim benefit at the local elections.

OPPORTUNITYLOST: Jan Lokapl Bill could have been introduced by BJP

As Anna supports flops, many believed that it was very easy to jump on Congress Party particularly when it has no majority in the Parliament. The critics point to the fact that if the Jan Lokpal Bill was considered by the BJP so vital why they failed to take the golden opportunity by introducing a full blooded version of the Bill preferred by Anna as their member’s bill in the Lok Sabha? Many parties were exposed doing flip flop, by voting or abstaining in the Lok Sabha on the Bill while taking opposite position in the Rajya Sabha. At one stage Varun Gandhi was poised to introduce his bill as a private member’s bill but nothing was heard of it since its announcement.

Under the Constitution a private Bill can be introduced and that would have been easier for Anna to have it debated against the Congress proposals allowing him to target with the help of support from the outside. That would also have been a real test of strength between the two positions and could have help exposed many MPs as much the hand in glove relationship between the BJP and Anna. They say it was time to put their money where their mouth is! But BJP failed to take up the challenge. In politics, they say that the last refuge of political scoundrels without accepting any responsibility or accountability is to do things in the name of the people that mean nothing in practical terms but the people ending paying the ultimate price for it.

STONG BILL: making inroad to a police state

The reality is that Jan Lokpal Bill, preferred by the Anna team is seen in many quarters as the beginning of making inroads to a form of police state. In depth study indicates that it provides for power to be accumulated with a bunch of unelected people with absolute control of investigating, mounting prosecution, being judge and act jury. It talked of authority to act in secret against anyone left open to be investigated even without any complaint being made by any one. It also proposes that the individual would not be entitled to know or make representation that a report was prepared and submitted against him or her by these unelected people.

Neither the Prime Minister nor the Parliament having almost no control over its administration or financial expenditure with CBI would be at their feet makes a dangerous cocktail. There is no guarantee that these appointed people would not be politically or otherwise corruptible as our most senior judges are claimed to be today. It would be a monster structure that would almost duplicate most many of existing functions of other institutions and certainly end up employing the same workforce that is responsible for the state of corruption in the first place. The transfer of power from the Parliament is an unacceptable proposition.

ABSOLUTE POWER: Opening anarchists haven

For 40 years the Indian Parliament has defeated such proposals mainly not to protect the corrupt but to protect the democratic institutions from any one group taking absolute power. If it was ever adopted, it would have been a major cause for destabilising what we today know as one of the largest democracy in the world in action. Once the elected Parliament and indeed its Executive lead by the Prime Minister loses the authority to govern, to put it mildly the structure of accountability begins to crumble and opens up for anarchists haven. Constant abuse thrown at the elected members of Parliament and even giving an individual a status above Parliament all points to a total contempt for our democratic values for which generations had struggled for years. There is nothing wrong to make peaceful protest but, a call for breaking of the law to fill the jails while the people have a democratic avenue open to deal with their grievances, adds weight to the argument that the premise of the anti-corruption campaign is to disrupt the administration and introduce chaos, legitimising breach of our laws made by the Parliament.

THROWING BABY WITH THE BATH WATER

It is a very special art in politics to successfully convince a starving person to avoid taking a simple glass of water and a half piece of roti to quench the thrust in a hot scorching heat of summer and cramping stomach with hunger with a dream promise of a five star mean in the future. A Lokpal Bill, presented by the Congress Party was rubbished as a weak bill and pushed by combined forces of Anna Team and BJP to its failure while promising a stronger bill in the name of Jan Lokpal Bill. The later was neither introduced by the BJP nor any other member of the Parliament even that there was a favourable political climate available to them, nor there is a possibility of getting any Bill on the time table of the Parliamentary debate for a long-time if the Government Bills fails al together. The Government Bill with having included a huge number of recommendations would have been as good as laying down, at least a foundation for an anti-corruption legislation along with a number of other pertinent bills that are also being introduced at the same time. Both BJP and Anna seemed to have thrown baby with the bath water just to settle some party political scores and gain mileage at the next local and general election.

LOKPAL LATAKGAYA

The foes of Congress are pretending as if they would have done something for the victims of rampant corruption of the Lokpal Bill would have been allowed to be voted on in the Rajya Sabha. In reality, there was no Jan Lokpal Bill in the parliament for considerations and the Congress had no majority in the House to get anywhere near approval from the members where political parties held differing views on the issue all together. It would have been lost in any case even if they had debated all night and the next all day. This was a fore gone conclusion and it was also fully understood that a failed bill will have a very uncertain future since we are only couple of years before the next general election.

OTHER BILLS TO TACKLE CORRUPTION

The government has introduced in Parliament a bill that is intended to prove its commitment to fighting corruption among government officers. The Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011 clearly outlines the responsibilities of government departments towards citizens – and how someone who is denied the service due to them can take action. The Cabinet also cleared the Judicial Accountability, the Whistleblowers Bill, and Prevention of Money Laundering – all adding strength to the spirit of Lokpal initiative that is under considerations.

POLITICAL WILL

The wise thing done was to adjourn the debate for keeping the Government Bill alive to see another day. It means that it would have some chance to be debated and voted upon to its final resolution. At least, the Government has tried or they could have been simply lost it and blamed it on the opposition parties for its demise. There is thing called responsible opposition in the parliament. Given the scenario, BJP could have negotiated with Congress a huge number of concessions when the Government adopted many recommendations and helped them to make way for the bill to become Law. It could have then, amended further when BJP occupies the power to bring it in par with the Jan Lokpal Bill. So the starving man of Indiastill remains thirsty and hungry without any Jan Lokpal or Loakpal Bill.
They say The Congress Party has no political will should have accepted the Jan Lokpal Bill as its initial model rather than their own version. That would have been very easy for Manmohan Singh. Well, BJP could have also done that but chose not do it but still escaped criticisms. Smarting under the tag of the most corrupt government sinceIndependence, the Congress-led UPA Government had unveiled the twin-agenda of putting in place a slew of legislation to fight corruption and working on electoral reforms, considered the source of corruption, and to cleanse public life.

Congress was the only party with a manifesto commitment. It wa their manifesto promise in 2009. The Congress proposals went through a huge consultation process and included many amendments from recommendations received from diverse sources.

The government is at the mercy of the so-called Third Front, a grouping of opportunistic parties operating as free radicals having neither consistency nor clarity. They have neither competence nor commitment. Grounded in the politics of convenience most times seek out nothing but a platform for personal ambitions. They speak of “alternative polices” without spelling out exactly what these alternatives are. Parties of the Third Front do one thing when they are in power and quite another when they are rejected by the people. It is doubtful if the Jan Lokpal, even if it was put before the House, would have been able to go through in the Lok Sabha given the powers it wants. Others say yes to it now, when it is far too convenient when sitting on the opposite benches knowing that such powers just would not get through the House in the end in any case leaving the Congress to do the dirty work.

Submitted on 2012/01/09 at 11:19 am

 

Buddhdev Pandya
buddhdevp@googlemail.com
109.158.9.5

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