As the government prepares to bring lokpal bill to the Cabinet on Thursday, anti-corruption activists pitched for a strong version of the law to set up a lokpal, saying the government draft to be discussed was “ineffective”.
Government sources suggested the Cabinet would have an opportunity to examine the civil society viewpoint of the ombudsman’s powers and jurisdiction. Their viewpoint would be reflected in the cabinet papers circulated ahead of the meeting but would not have the backing of the ministerial panel that finalised the draft.
The government had constituted a drafting committee having ministers and members of NGO India Against Corruption to finalise lokpal bill but they failed to reach a consensus. After that, the ministers finalized a draft lokpal bill for the Cabinet's consideration.
“In its present form, the government’s version of the lokpal bill is too weak and ineffective,” social activist Anna Hazare, who was also member of the drafting committee, said. “It has a very narrow jurisdiction.”
Team Anna had demanded inclusion of the PM, higher judiciary and civil servants in ambit of the proposed lokpal, which the ministers did not agree.