When Anna seat on fast in the month of April to bring strong lokpal bill, people of this country supported him whole heartedly not only because people were tired of rampant corruption but also because people were disheartened to see that government doesn’t want to curb corruption rather they are trying to make fool out of us by enacting a toothless Lokpal bill ( I have discussed about this and all other technical aspects of Lokpal in my previous article Lokpal to Jan Lokpal, those who haven’t read it please read it first). Looking at the mood of people government declared that they are ready to form joint committee to prepare the draft of Lokpal bill comprising of the members of civil society. Government was no saint in accepting Anna’s demands. Their announcement was intended to buy some time sabotage this movement.
Accordingly government on the one hand employed Amar, Kapil and Digvijay to vilify Anna and his team and on the other hand started creating obstacles in the meeting of drafting committee. Looking at the success and popularity of Anna’s movement Baba Ramdev also jumped in the running train. He started his circus on the name of bringing black money from Swiss banks. However unlike Anna Baba Ramdev was not doing it with any noble motive. His intention was to gain cheap publicity so that he can corner some votes in upcoming Loksabha election by forming a new political party. However Ramdev proved to be immature in dealing with shrewd government. Government pulled air from Baba’s movement by playing the master move of showing the letter signed by Baba’s aide Balkrishna which promised to end the fast.
This fiasco of Baba’s movement injected false confidence in government that they can also tackle Anna with similar strategy. However Anna was grand old player of this game and his associates like Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejarival have worked with government so they knew all the strategies of government and their remedies. As was expected government declared that they will prepare the draft of Lokpal bill without members of civil society and will introduce it in upcoming monsoon session in parliament. The bill prepared by government was not meant to curb the corruption rather the provision of this bill were made to punish the complainants.
Naturally Anna declared that if government did not introduce the Jan Lokpal bill prepared by his team in parliament than he will seat on fast from 16th of August. Government initially argued
|Source:By Kritish Bhatt(www.bamulahija.com/|
that there is no need for Anna to seat on fast since the bill is in front of standing committee and Anna and his team should maintain sanctity of Parliament. Congress have always put forward the argument of sanctity and dignity of constitutional institutions when they don’t want to work, whether it is matter of taking decision on Afzal’s capital punishment or taking action against corrupt ministers. When this argument did not work they arrested Anna under preventive detention. This turned the anger of whole country and government was compelled to leave Anna within 12 hours. Anna got unimaginable support of people and now government was on back foot.
As I said in this whole issue government behaved shrewd, rude and betrayed people but is Anna and company right in all their demands? Today when Anna and his movement is getting so much support it is necessary for us to discuss about the validity of his stand, because with great powers comes great responsibility.
First of all I am not in the support of burning the copies of bill which was produced in the Parliament. Even if the bill was weak and we wanted to protest against it there were other ways of protest like oral protest but burning the copies of bill which was introduced in parliament is not acceptable.
Two days ago when Standing committee of parliament gave advertisements in news papers to ask for peoples suggestion on governments Lokpal bill, Arvind Kejariwal said it’s a waste of time, there is no meaning in asking people’s suggestion on this bill since it is a weak bill. Later on in the evening in an interview on news channel when Kejariwal was asked that it is a procedure according to democratic system that cabinet approves the bill drafted by government and it is introduced in parliament and then it is forwarded to standing committee who ask for peoples suggestions and then with its recommendations standing committee sends the bill in parliament which enacts it so don’t you believe in this system? He said “time has ripe to challenge this system because in this system only few bureaucrats in the ministry form the bill which is approved by cabinet and standing committee takes opinion of few people and that too are rejected in most cases by parliament and the bill is framed as it is. This is not democracy, our constitution makers wanted to create representative democracy where M.P’s will work according to people’s wish who elected them but here once they are elected by people they work according to the wish of party high command. Actually government should take referendum on Lokpal bill to know what people want”.
Strange it may sound that on the one hand Kejariwal talks about taking referendum and on the other hand he is not even letting the government to ask people for their suggestion. So what if the government’s bill is flawed while giving their suggestion people can say that so and so provision of Lokpal are encouraging corruption hence they should be excluded from the bill and so and so provision should be included to strengthen the bill. This way even government’s bill can be improved by democratic way. Secondly, on the one hand he talks about taking nationwide referendum and other hand Anna says that bill should be passed in parliament before 30th of August. Do this people have slightest of idea that how much time it takes to conduct nationwide referendum? It’s not similar to that of doing a survey in Kapil sibbal’s constituency. It may take at least 3 to 4 months to conduct such referendum but with Anna’s ultimatum of August 30th how is it possible?
Four days ago when Kejariwal was answering the question of people in Ramlila ground someone asked him that what will he do if government introduced his Jan Lokpal bill in parliament and then parliament rejects some of its provision? He said government is in majority in parliament hence it should not be difficult for government to pass the whip to all its M.Ps to vote in favor of Jan Lokpal and get the bill pass. Another irony this is because on the one side he says that it is not representative democracy it is autocracy that M.Ps listen to their party high command and on the other side he says that government should get his bill passed by issuing the whip.
His whole argument lies on the only logic that his version of Lokpal bill is people’s bill since so many people are supporting him but he is forgetting that people are not supporting him because they think that his bill is perfect rather people are supporting Anna because they are fed up of corruption and government’s attitude. Most of those who support Anna’s campaign still don’t know the technical details of Lokpal because they are not constitutional experts but they have faith in Anna and similar amount of mistrust in government hence they have joined this campaign but using their trust to push the undue demands is not right.
Even Anna’s bill is not completely flawless it has some serious problems like they want judiciary to be included in per view of Lokpal but inclusion of judiciary was not there in the original principles of Lokpal. Of course corruption in judiciary should be nailed out but for that separate “Judicial accountability bill” should be brought. I know present version of government’s “Judicial accountability bill is complete crap it will complicate matters further but it can be redrafted however that doesn’t mean we should include everything under the sky in Lokpal. Nor can we put CBI and CVC under the ambit of Lokpal since CBI not only solves the cases of corruption it also handles cases of high profile murders, interstate crime and various other things which has nothing to do with either Lokpal or Corruption.
Kejariwal is against multiplicity of agencies in fight against corruption as I have said in my previous article too that if we put everything under Lokpal then vastness of Lokpal’s work will grow to an extent that it will be unable to work efficiently. The more serious concern is about too much concentration of power. If we put all constitutional agencies under Lokpal and then if Lokpal turns corrupt or autocrat what will we do? Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. In a country like India where P.M, M.P’s and Judges of Supreme court and High court have faced and are facing the charges of corruption what is the guaranty of Lokpal proving to be a 24 carat gold? we are giving so much power in the hands of Lokpal but Just imagine if Lokpal himself goes out of control than who will control him?
I supported Anna’s movement earlier and I am still supporting him because he is sincere, he is fighting for our cause and the most important I am in the favor of strong Lokpal. However strong Lokpal doesn’t mean autocratic Lokpal. Some of the people near him are misleading him but he should be aware of the fact that arrogance and stubbornness in attitude may culminate this movement in popular autocracy and will lead him to similar fate where earlier J.P movement had gone. People thrown away Congress in 1977 and coronated Janta government only to bring congress back in 1980.