Bid to rein in graft in judiciary

Anti-corruption activists seek more teeth to Lokpal

Bid to rein in graft in judiciary

Civil society members are trying to devise a mechanism for equipping the Lokpal with powers to look into corruption charges against  judges.

At the same time, judges should have essential protections, said civil society leaders after a meeting of social activists on Sunday with joint drafting committee members Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal here on Sunday.

In the last meeting of the joint drafting committee, this issue was put off due to the difference of opinion between civil society and the government. The issue is likely to come up for discussion in the next meeting. Civil society is also in sea­rch of a mechanism for monitoring the Lokpal. For this, models of different countries are being studied. Some of these models give prominent roles to civil society.

Noted lawyer Shanti Bh­ushan on Sunday called for making  the report of the Ch­andigarh-based Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory (CF­SL) public. The CFSL  re­po­rtedly said the CD having purported conversations between Bhushan, Mulayam Si­ngh Yadav and Amar Singh were a cut-and-paste job.

In a letter to Home Minister P Chidambaram, Bhushan said the report’s release will not ha­mper the investigations beca­use he was the sole compl­ainant. “Some people are pe­rceiving, though this perception is not shared by me, that perhaps an effort might be on to try to pressurise the CFSL to change its report, and that is the reason to keep it under wraps for so long,” Bhushan alleged.

Bhushan has alleged that the CD with purported conversations between him, Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh over fixing a judge was fabricated to malign him.

In its analysis, the CFSL in New Delhi had said that the CD was genuine. The Delhi Police sent it to Chandigarh for a second opinion.

In his letter, the senior lawyer alleged that the officer who received the first CD is waiting for confirmation in his post and he wants to be in the “good books” of the authorities.

Bhushan criticised the release of the first report. He said: “Since I know that the CD is a fabricated one, he appears to have given this totally incorrect report to ingratiate himself to them. The people of India may easily guess as to which persons are behind the smear campaign against civil society members drafting committee.”

On Sunday, the anti-graft movement decided to start a campaign among MPs to solicit their support for the proposed Lokpal bill. The anti-graft activists will meet MPs of their areas and appeal to them to support it when the bill is tabled in Parliament.

Social Activist Swami Agnivesh said: “It is essential to involve public representatives. We should make them aware of the finer points of the bill, so that they should argue in favour of the bill with all effectiveness.”

The meeting was attended by social and rights activists from across the country, including Narmada Bachao leader Medha Patakar,  Magsaysay Award winner Sandip Pandey and journalist Kuldip Nayar.

It decided to launch a countrywide movement against corruption after a big conference on the issue. At the same time, the campaign in support of the Lokpal bill will go on.

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