Members of Parliament belonging to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) categories have demanded reservation for OBCs in the Lokpal panel. They want a quarter of the panel to be kept aside for OBCs.
While the Parliamentary Standing Committee is trying to fine-tune Team Anna's demands into the government's version of the Lokpal Bill, MPs from different social groups are stepping up pressure for caste-based reservation in the first ever national ombudsman system of the country.
The Forum of SC/ST Parliamentarians had made a similar case for reservations in Lokpal, both inside and outside Parliament. On Saturday, the All-India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations led by Udit Raj met the Prime Minister over the issue. The association also submitted the Bahujan Lokpal Bill to the standing committee's chairperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
“Non representation of OBCs in the Constituent Assembly has led to inadequate representation of these major groups in all decision-making bodies of the government after independence. Now that we are bringing Lokpal, it is extremely necessary that OBCs should be adequately represented in Lokpal as well as its selection committee,” said V Hanumantha Rao, convenor of Parliamentary Forum of OBC MPs, in a letter sent to the committee on Friday.
The Rajya Sabha MP has proposed an addition to Clause 3 of the Bill dealing with composition of Lokpal. “Of the total number, including chairperson and other members, not less than 15% shall be from SC, not less than 7.5% from ST and not less then 27% from OBCs, including those of religious minorities.”
The forum also wants one third of the panel to be represented by women. The clause related to the selection committee should be amended to give representation of one member belonging to OBCs (like chairman of National Commission for Backward Classes), SCs, STs, minorities and women, the letter states.The OBC forum convenor also wants Lokpal to cover private sector, NGOs engaged with government to deliver public services, charitable religious trusts and the media.