July 06 2020
Parties for strong Lokpal Bill in monsoon session
03 July 2011

Political parties across the spectrum on Sunday unanimously resolved that the Centre bring in a strong and effective Lokpal Bill before Parliament in the next session through established procedures.

The reference to the procedure means the government declare its position by drafting a Bill that is cleared by the Union Cabinet before introducing it in the monsoon session, for Parliament to take a view.

“The all-party meeting agreed that the government should bring [in] before the next session of Parliament a strong and effective Lokpal Bill [by] following the established procedures,” was the brief resolution read by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The meeting was called by him to discuss the Lokpal Bill.

While major parties avoided going into the arguments on the contents of the draft Bills, the thrust of the meeting was to re-emphasise the supremacy of Parliament in making laws. Barring the AIADMK, regional parties, including the DMK, favoured bringing Prime Minister within the ambit of Lokpal.

Through his opening remarks, Dr. Singh set the tone for the meeting, emphasising his government's commitment to enact a Lokpal Bill which provides for a “strong, effective and quick institutional arrangement for tackling corruption in high places” and place it before Parliament in the monsoon session.

“I must also add that while a good law and a strong institution are necessary to tackle the problem of corruption, these alone would never suffice. Along with these, we need to focus on simplifying procedures, reducing discretion, eliminating arbitrariness and increasing transparency in the way the government functions,” the Prime Minister said.

Dr. Singh underscored that the institution of Lokpal had to work in harmony with other institutions and laws and function within the framework of the basic structure of the Constitution. “It has to add [to], and not detract from, the legitimate role and authority of other institutions in our democratic structure.”

Informed sources said Lalu Prasad (RJD) questioned the legitimacy of the civil society in making laws over elected representatives, while CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta countered stating that such a society grew in strength because of the failure of the political system to curb corruption.

Mr. Dasgupta said while the government had the right to talk to anyone, it had gone too far. CPI leader D. Raja commented on the government first engaging with the civil society and then sending the police to act against it, apparently shaken that the storm against corruption was turning turbulent.

Among those who attended the meeting were Congress president Sonia Gandhi and key Ministers.

The UPA allies who attended included Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel (NCP) and T.R. Baalu (DMK). BJP leader L.K. Advani along with his colleagues Ms. Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, Sharad Yadav (JD-U), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (SAD), Satish Mishra (BSP), Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) and M. Thambidurai (AIADMK) also present.



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