Pass less disputed anti-graft bills: Aruna

Pass less disputed anti-graft bills: Aruna

The recent assault on a Right To Information activist in Assam has triggered calls from within Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council for early passage of the much-awaited Whistleblower Protection Bill.

Aruna Roy, convenor of the NAC Working Group on Transparency and Accountability, argued that while the government should try to build consensus on the contentious Lokpal Bill or the Judicial Accountability Bill, it should ensure passage of two other less controversial anti-corruption legislations – the Whistleblower Protection Bill and Citizens Right to Grievance Redress Bill – during the ensuing monsoon session. Akhil Gogoi, a well-known RTI activist of Assam, was allegedly assaulted by some Youth Congress activists in Nalbari district on Friday.

“Like Gogoi, there are many activists today daring to raise issues which challenge unequal and unjust power relations and who are often faced with vested interests. It is the job of the State to protect these voices and spaces,” Roy and other social activists like Shankar Singh and Nikhil Dey pointed out in a statement issued by the Mazdoor Kishan Shakti Sangathan. 

Earlier, in a letter to Sonia, Roy wrote that the government should take steps to ensure the passage of the two “potentially landmark” legislations.

The Whistleblower Protection Bill was passed by Lok Sabha on December 27 last year, almost a year after it was introduced in the Lower House. The proposed legislation was however stalled in the Rajya Sabha during the last Budget Session as the opposition parties as well as the UPA constituent Trinamool Congress sought more time to move amendments.The Bill seeks to protect whistleblowers exposing corruption, misuse of power or criminal offence by a public servant.

The Citizens Right to Grievance Redress Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 20 last year and was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievance, Law and Justice, which is slated to meet on Monday.

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