Team Anna questions government's integrity
Ghaziabad, July 16 (IANS) Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal Monday questioned the government's integrity for constituting the select committee to discuss the Lokpal bill, saying it is the third such panel set up by the government in the last one year.
"Why so many committees are being formed to submit this bill when the bills for hiking salaries of parliamentarians and the SEZ (special economic zone) bill to acquire land were passed within minutes," asked Kejriwal at a press conference in the Kaushambi area of Ghaziabad Monday.
He raised these questions in a letter to select committee chairman Satyvrat Chaturvedi.
The Team Anna member pointed out that before the select committee, the government had constituted a joint draft committee, which was followed by a standing committee.
"In the last 44 years, 10 committees had been constituted by the government to give a final touch to the Lokpal bill," he said.
Citing the proceedings of the standing committee, Kejriwal said in August 2011 the panel comprising members of all political parties from both houses of parliament invited suggestions from the public and about 13,000 suggestions were made.
"The people of this country have every right to know what happened to those suggestions. How many of them were rejected and how many of them were included in the bill," he said.
"Now, the select committee has again invited suggestions. Is it just a formality like earlier ones... Why those earlier suggestions are not being incorporated by this committee?" he said.
Kejriwal said that all parties passed a resolution in parliament on August 27 last year to accept three main demands of Anna Hazare - Inclusion of lower bureaucracy in the bill, formulation of citizens' charter and appointing lokayuktas or ombudsman in the states.
"Surprisingly, all the three demands have disappeared from the bill. Is it not an insult to the people of this country and its parliament?" he asked.
"According to the present bill, the chairman and members are to be appointed by the government. When appointments are being done by the government then how can the Lokpal be called autonomous?"
"The present bill of the government is also not inclined to give up CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation). A complainant in not protected against any threat. In fact, punishment might be awarded to the complainant if found wrong. To protect the corrupt, a free legal service would be provided to the accused," Kejriwal pointed out.
He called the bill "against the spirit of CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code)," which deserved to be rejected.
Another team Anna member, Prashant Bhushan was also present at the conference.
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