Govt. Desperate to Derail the Jan Lokpal Bill !

R.D. Bhardwaj 


The latest meeting held on 31st May, between the anti-corruption activist, Shri Anna Hazare and Union H.R.D. Minister, Kapil Sibal again brings to the fore the ambiguity and reluctance of the Government to give virtual teeth to the Jan Lokpal Bill, which is proposed to nail out those who indulge in corrupt practices and fleece the people. Government’s hidden agenda to keep the Prime Minister, Judges, MPs’ conduct and behaviour in Parliament and big bureaucrats etc. out of the purview of the Jan Lokpal Bill, also speaks volumes of its intention and seriousness to root-out corruption from social, economic and political system prevailing in our country, which is dragging us all behind the developed nations around the globe and because of it, poor Indian common man is suffering the most.

In case, the conscience of the Govt. is clear that its ministers and other big officers etc. also do not resort to any kind of corrupt practices, then why are they hampering the formation of this bill and allowing it to turn into a reality ? It seems that majority of the leaders, irrespective of the party to which they belong or represent, all are trying to get away with giving just superficial powers to the Jan Lokpal (you can see what has ultimately happened to the recommendations of Delhi’s Lokayukt who has written to the Delhi Govt. to dismiss its CPW Minister around two months ago). Even the Prime Minister says that the bill will certainly be placed on the table of the house by the proposed date (30th June), as promised in the first week of April, 2011. But, still he fails to elaborate or make any commitment on the jurisdiction he intends to provide to the Jan Lokpal so that he (Jan Lokpal) can exercise clear judicial powers to dismiss or punish by some other manner he deems fit, the wrong-doers, in case his investigations prove so, howsoever big or powerful he or she may be. Our politicians want to wrap the bill in such a mysterious wordings so that a lot of loop-holes remain there and thereby, indirectly provide an escape route to the corrupt people. The Prime Minister has also never elaborated to the people that nobody is above law and everybody, howsoever big or small, shall be dealt with severely by the virtue of this bill, in case he or she resorts to any type of corrupt practices and thereby plays foul with the people.

Thirdly, the Government’s assertion that it does not intend to compromise on the independence of judiciary and that, let the judges be dealt with under “Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill” itself. But again, it is very interestingly note that, even that bill, which is also pending in the Parliament since long, is in very bad shape and it would end up only protecting the corrupt judges rather than punishing them. It does not even talk of punishing and prosecuting “corruption” of judges. It only talks of enquiring against their “Misbehaviour.”

Regarding MPs bribery inside Parliament, the Govt. again wants to exclude them from the purview of this bill, as it feels that they should be only governed by the principle of “Self Regulation.” But the irony of the matter is that many MPs have been earlier found taking crores of bribe money for asking questions in Parliament and voting in favour or against some bill or even a confidence motion. They may be purchased not just by other parties, but also by other countries or corporates. Therefore, this sale purchase of the MPs is really endangering the very foundations of our democracy. Thus, to save our democratic system, it becomes very imperative to bring them all under purview of the Jan Lokpal. Needless to say that the principle of this self regulation had not worked to discipline them and therefore, their corruption should be investigated by some independent body.

Fourthly, Swami Ramdev’s making a U-turn on exclusion of Prime Minister from the purview of this bill also spreads a layer of mystery and uncertainty over his new found love for the PM. On one hand, he is himself starting a Satyagrah / campaign to root out corruption / black money and expatriate huge stocks of ill gotten money from the Swiss Banks, but on the other hand, he has now started talking about exclusion of some people from this bill, it is really baffling and intriguing for the common man. Is he doing so because a few congress leaders have questioned Swami Ramdev as to how he has amassed thousand crores out of the various activities of his Pitanjali Yogapeeth? There also seems to be a strategy on part of some government quarters to arm-twist Swami Ramdev ji and thus cause a split or rift to the otherwise strong movement initiated by the members of civil society and thereby, derail their movement, which has taken along with it the confidence and aspirations of crores of people from across the country.

And lastly, I also feel that former CECs, T.N. Seshan, J.M. Lyngdoh, former Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai, G.R. Khairnar, and former Director of DDA, K.J. Alphonse, should also join and strengthen this movement initiated by Shri Anna Hazare and his friends & associates and help the nation in cleansing this otherwise rotten up and mysteriously messed up socio-economic-bureaucratic polity, and thereby, provide some long due justice and relief to the common people.