New Delhi: After dealing with Baba Ramdev’s hunger strike, government is likely to face another challenge soon with Anna Hazare-led civil society which wants to bring ‘mantri to santri’ (minister to sentry) under the ambit of the proposed Lokpal Bill.
Sources said government was wary on a few issues which the civil society members in the Lokpal Bill drafting committee wanted to incorporate in the proposed anti-graft law that seeks to bring the higher judiciary and the Prime Minister under the ambit of Lokpal.
Independence of judiciary is protected by the Constitution but if the judiciary is made subservient to Lokpal, it would affect the functioning of the judges.
If the Prime Minister is brought under the ambit of Lokpal, whenever there is a complaint against him or her, he or she will have to resign to ensure impartiality in probe or else there would be allegation that the Prime Minister may influence the witnesess or witnesses would be afraid of giving testimony against the Prime Minister.
If such a situation arises whenever there is a complaint against the Prime Minister and he or she has to resign for impartiality, there would be change of central government in every six months, sources said.
Civil society members want to include everyone in the government — ‘mantri to santri’ – under Lokpal and this idea would “derail” the whole attempt to check corruption at higher places, sources said.
Sources said if Lokpal has to handle petty corruption charges levelled against everyone beginning with peons, there would be hardly any time for it to deal with bigger cases and would defeat the very purpose of the law.
Another suggestion that CBI and CVC should be brought under Lokpal also has not found favour with the government since both the organisations have different responsibilities and both are working as key arms of the government against corruption. Bringing CBI and CVC under Lokpal will give a big blow to the government’s existing mechanism.
Civil society members wanted to make Lokpal as the ‘fourth pillar’ of democracy despite the fact that it would be accountable to none nor it would be appointed through elections.
The proposal to empower Lokpal with all administrative and disciplinary powers also did not find favour in the government. At present, if any official is involved in any wrong doing, action is initiated by the respective ministry or the department.
But if such powers are removed, no action could be taken by the government against errant officials and a decision from Lokpal may come after months, if not year, later.
No Member of Parliament will support a Bill which does not give him or her guarantee of privilege while speaking inside the House. In such circumstances, it would be difficult for the government to pass the proposed Bill in Parliament.