The bitter experience of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and his team in having got involved in a joint drafting exercise with the Centre on the lokpal bill, has not deterred them from coming out with a lokayukta bill for the Bihar government.
Following a request from the chief minister Nitish Kumar, the Hazare team is ready with its draft bill to set up an anti-corruption ombudsman in Bihar.
"When we met Kumar to seek support for our Jan Lokpal bill on June 30, he had requested us to draft a lokayukta bill for Bihar. We have completed the work," said Arvind Kejriwal, a member of the Hazare team on the joint drafting panel for the lokpal bill.
Bihar is among the 11 states, which so far does not have a lokayukta, but Kumar is keen to have one soon. "He has called us for discussion in the first week of August to finalise the draft so that he can place it before the state cabinet," said Kejriwal.
Kejriwal's colleague, lawyer Prashant Bhushan said the importance of their team having drafted the bill was that it retains most of the provisions of the their version of the lokpal bill at the national level. "It has been drafted keeping in mind that in a federal structure, the powers of a state are different from that of the Centre.”
According to Hazare's team, their draft lokayukta bill provides for bringing the CM in its ambit. "There has been no clarity on this so far. Different states have adopted different stands on this issue," said a member of India Against Corruption.
The draft bill also empowers the lokayukta to initiate a probe once it is convinced that the complaint is genuine. It has done away with the procedure to seek permission of higher officials before beginning an inquiry against any public servant.
The Hazare team hopes to convince the Kumar government to bring the state bureaucracy within the lokayukta's ambit and not just a particular category of higher officials. "We expect some clarifications from the Nitish Kumar government, since this is for the first time that any state government will be accepting a civil society draft almost in totality," a member said.