At last, the long-awaited and much-sought after anti-graft Lokpal Bill was introduced in Parliament amid opposition and criticism from civil society group of Team Anna. The bill is to be discussed in the extended winter session of Parliament on Dec 27, 28 and 29 and subsequently it is to be passed.
Anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare has played the pivotal role in pushing the UPA government to table the anti-graft bill. He and his team galvanized the entire nation against corruption, which has taken the form of cancer. Team Anna is also credited with making the government and the entire political class conscious about the rising voices of the people against corruption. It is because of their campaign against corruption that the Government has been forced to introduce the anti-graft bills like Citizens Charter, Judicial Accountability, Money laundering, Whisle blower’s protection and Public Grievance Redressal in winter session of Parliament to show the people that they are sincere to act against corruption.
Though Team Anna has rejected the Government drafted Lokpal Bill, which was introduced, outright and stuck to their decision of sitting on three-day fast from Dec 27 in Mumbai and Jail Bharo Abhiyan and sitting on dharna before the residence of MPs from January 1, 2 and 3 for strong Lokpal Bill, they should have waited to see what correction and amendments are made to the Lokpal bill in the Parliament during debate and discussion on it.
Prime Minister has been brought under Lokpal but with some conditions as safeguard measures. Anna Hazare demands full autonomy to the premier investigative agency CBI by putting it under the purview of Lokpal but the Government only altered its mechanism of appointment of its Director but kept it under its actual control.
There is a five member committee consisting of PM, Leader of Opposition, Lok Sabha Speaker, CJI and an eminent person nominated by the government that would appoint Lokpal. It clearly reflects that balance is in favour of the government in the appointment of Lokpal.
Team Anna has described the Government drafted bill as an empty tin box and Lokpal as postman. One prominent drawback in Team Anna is that they believe that whatever view they express is only right and whoever differs with them is wrong. This is quite impossible in democracy. There must be give and take attitude to reach a consensus on any contentious issue. This has not happened with this Lokpal Bill. Its final shape and nature will only come out after it is passed by the Parliament because there is still enough scope for amendments and corrections. We must hope that a strong Lokpal Bill to fight corruption would see the light of the day in more than four decades as it has already introduced 8 times before this.