BJP opposes religious quota, wants CBI rid of govt control | delhi | Hindustan Times
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BJP opposes religious quota, wants CBI rid of govt control

delhi Updated: Nov 15, 2012 02:15 IST
Vikas Pathak

Upping the ante on the contentious anti-corruption lokpal bill, the BJP has opposed religion-based reservation in the proposed watchdog and demanded that government law officers be removed from the panel of lawyers representing the CBI.

The party has made these points in its nine-page written response to the Rajya Sabha's select committee examining the bill, already passed by the Lok Sabha in December last year.

Objecting to the proposed reservation of "not less than 50%" in the proposed Lokpal institution, the BJP in its response - signed by leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and party colleagues on the panel Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Bhupendra Yadav - said this could open the body to the interpretation that all the posts can be reserved.

Significantly, the Supreme Court had put a cap of 50% on quotas in the Mandal Commission case.

Arguing that reservation for minorities was not constitutionally permissible, the BJP posed two questions: "Does such a proposition include states such as Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab or any other state where Hindus are a minority? Also, would it also include linguistic minorities within the meaning of the term 'minorities'?"

The BJP's response launched a sharp attack on the CBI - saying that the agency had lost its credibility on account of wide "misuse of political influence" - and reiterated the demand to make the CBI an independent body free of government control.

While repeating some of its demands regarding freeing of the agency from government control, the party made a fresh demand: government law officers should not be on the panel of lawyers that represent the the investigative agency.

Instead, these lawyers should be appointed by the director (prosecution) of the CBI - himself appointed by a collegium comprising the prime minister, the leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the lokpal chairman - after prior approval of the lokpal.