Keeping the Prime Minister and higher judiciary out of the proposed anti-corruption ombudsman, the Lokpal, would be a violation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, Anna Hazare’s team said on Friday.
Hazare’s team, which will resume its sixth round of negotiations with the Centre in the joint drafting panel for the lokpal bill, amid growing differences between the two sides, is treading cautiously on its future strategy.
The co-chairman of the joint panel and veteran jurist Shanti Bhushan indicated the intention of his team to engage the government till the negotiations would become untenable.
Reacting to the six questions sent by the finance minister and joint panel chairman Pranab Mukherjee to the chief ministers and leaders of political parties, Bhushan said nobody could be kept out of the lokpal’s purview by virtue of the posts held by the individuals.
“India is among the last countries in the world to have ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption, but since it has been finally done, there can be no exemptions now,” the former law minister said.
His colleague on the joint panel, Arvind Kejriwal said the UN convention calls for a stand alone law to fight graft and setting up of an independent agency to probe corruption charges and the proposed lokpal fulfils the conditions.
“No public servant can be granted exemption from facing investigation on allegations of corruption and according to the Prevention of Corruption Act, the PM and judges are public servants,” Kejriwal said.
India had completed the process of ratification of the UN convention last month.