Jan Lokpal bill should not turn into a hogwash, says activist

Issue: Intellectuals debate fight against corruption

For a cause: Halathi Somashekar, Maj Gen (Retd) S G Vombatkere, Dr R Balasubramanyam and G Chandrashekar at the book release function in Mysore on Sunday. DH Photo

He was addressing a gathering at the interaction on Jan Lokpal bill and book release function here on Sunday.

Balasubramanyam said the civil society was very powerful and has been the reason for enacting five acts in the last five years, including Right to Education Act, Right to Information Act, Food Security Act and Forest Rights Act.

He said the proposed Lokpal bill by the government would be a dummy law if implemented. The Jan Lokpal bill would be more powerful than the government bill.

The Jan Lokpal bill proposed a multi-member commission for the selection of the Lokpal. Cases registered would come to trial within an year of the complaint.

Changes in punishment

The Lokpal bill would also need changes in punishment for corrupt officials.
The prime minister should come under the purview of Lokpal as he has portfolios of public interest under him and thus accountable.

Another radical addition to the Jan Lokpal bill is to bring private sector and non-government organisations under Lokpal.

Any organisation which has a transaction with the government should be brought under the Lokpal.

He said India had signed the UN convention against corruption 17 years ago, but the government and the people had forgotten about the agreement.

Balasubramanyam said the ministers should be the voice of the people, at the same time participation of the people is essential for democracy.

Use RTI Act

He urged the public to make use of the RTI Act, which is the most powerful among the right to information acts all over the world.

He said Central public sector units need four more major reforms, including the Jan Lokpal bill along with electoral reforms, police reforms and judicial reforms, all of which are very critical.

He also asked the people to join the struggle to bring the Jan Lokpal bill into force and also asked them to spread awareness about the bill among others.

He did not want the fight for the bill to be a ‘middle class elitist struggle’. He said the public has to be the change they want to see.

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