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'Catch the big fish first'

delhi Updated: Jun 05, 2011 21:24 IST

PTI
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Civil society members of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee on Sunday came face to face with eminent persons who criticised "over loading" the body with too many powers and suggested that it should be constituted with a focus to catch the "big fish".

The likes of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Satyanand Mishra, outspoken retires judge A P Shah, social activists Nikhil Dey and Usha Ramanathan debated the issue of Lokpal with drafting committee members Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal and former IPS officer Kiran Bedi.

Mishra, Dey, Ramanathan and RTI activist Shekhar Singh said there was no second opinion that corruption should be eradicated, but did not agree entirely with the current form of Lokpal Bill, which the civil society members want to cover from a "peon to the Prime Minister".

"Catch the big fish first...let it concentrate on higher positions...concentrate on the biggest fish," Dey said.

Mishra wanted to know from where the Lokpal would recruit 15,000 people "with impeccable integrity" for its functioning and suggested that this was inviable. His suggestion was that existing institutions can be strengthened.

However, Kejriwal and Bhushan strongly disagreed with them and said there should be a single body that would cover all government employees, MPs, Ministers and even the Prime Minister.

Justice Shah said the Prime Minister's office should be brought under the purview of the Lokpal with a "few safeguards as he is the face of the country", but warned against including higher judiciary.

There was near unanimity among the panel members on the two issues. Bringing judiciary is not the "right approach" and if Lokpal can supercede the Supreme Court then the "last credible institution in the country will be destroyed", he said.