The government is considering using the ordinance route to bring in two key laws that will, along with the Lokpal Bill, round out the anti-corruption framework promised by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
Although the Parliament in winter session approved the Lokpal Bill, shortage of time meant that it failed to get to the Whistleblower Protection Bill and the Grievance Redressal and Timely Delivery of Services Bill, to the disappointment of citizen groups.
At a recent speech at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Rahul had highlighted that the Grievance Redressal Bill, and other legislations, were required to fight corruption as the Lokpal Bill alone would not be enough.
Sources said that the Department of Personnel and Training, which had piloted the two legislations, has been asked to work on the ordinance proposal.
“The issue has been discussed at the highest level and a formal decision will be announced soon,” a senior government functionary told HT.
Getting these two pieces of legislation into the lawbooks would be timely for the ruling party given the stir caused in Delhi by the newly elected Aam Aadmi Party, which won power on the back of its anti-corruption agenda. If it does opt for the ordinance mechanism, it is unlikely to witness much political opposition as all political parties are in favour of these pieces of legislation, which are operational in some states in different formats.
While the Lokpal is meant to address high-level corruption, the government intends the two new bills to deal with day-to-day corruption at the lower levels. The Grievance Redressal bill provides for a penalty to officials who fail to provide relief to citizens in a time-bound manner and the Whistleblower Protection Bill ensures legal protection for exposing corruption.