M K Gupta

President Pratibha Patil in her pre-independence Day address to the nation has stressed, “there should be no effort, consciously or otherwise, that will lead to the erosion institutional authority…….. There cannot be just one panacea or remedy to deal with it (corruption), but a system of transparency and accountability should be put in place at various levels”.

Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, senior Minister and Mr. Shanti Bhushan, former Law Minister were the Chairman and Dy.-Chairman of the draft Lokpal Committee respectively and the Committee prepared two separate drafts. It was promised that both the drafts will be put up before the Cabinet but, surprisingly, only one draft prepared by the govt’s nominees was put up before the Cabinet and the same was presented before the Lok Sabha for consideration. The Lok Sabha in its wisdom referred this draft to the Standing Committee for consideration and giving its suggestions. The hands of the Standing Committee are tied as this Committee can only suggest changes in the proposed draft but it cannot alter it altogether.

It was in the fitness of the things that both the bills should have been presented before the Parliament and sent to the Standing Committee and these were prepared under the Chairman and co-chairman of the drafting Committee by its members. It is clear that the mood of the nation is against the Govt.’s Lokpal Bill and the nation want a more effective bill.

Now, it is clear that who is playing smart and hoodwinking the public and the system, contributing on to the erosion of institutional authority? It is not denied that there cannot be just one panacea or remedy to deal with the corruption but we will have to take first step and that too an effective one. Simultaneously or subsequently, other steps can also be taken. These steps should not be taken merely to silence the public that has stood against the corruption resolutely but should be taken with right intention and will power.

Though sometime, it seems that the team Anna has lost patience but when we consider that the Lokpal bill was first mooted about 43-year ago and till date, it has not been converted into a law, one can understand this impatient. Anna Hazare is now an icon of popular public mood and if an effective law is not made, the issue will be diluted by the govt. It will not be an exaggeration to state that by and large, we are loosing faith in the present dispensation and that this movement cannot suppressed by force as was done over two months ago at Ramlila ground.

Hope, the Govt. will read the writing on the wall otherwise nation may be forced to face mid-term poll on the issue.