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Constitutional status for Lokpal a delaying tactic: Team Anna

Last updated on: October 12, 2011 13:59 IST

Questioning the government's move to make the Lokpal a Constitutional authority, Team Anna on Wednesday said it was a tactic to delay or avoid its passage and "fool" the people.

"If government is serious on Lokpal, it should first pass the bill by winter session. Constitutional status is a sure means to delay or avoid the passage of the bill," activist Kiran Bedi said.

Bedi was responding to Law Minister Salman Khurshid's revelation in an interview to PTI on Tuesday night that government intends to make the Lokpal a Constitutional authority which will be "more powerful" than the Election Commission".

For this purpose, he said a Constitutional amendment bill is to be introduced in the winter session of Parliament starting next month and the Lokpal legislation is expected to be approved in the same session.

Bedi said the plans to make Lokpal a Constitutional authority was like "putting the cart before the horse. It's like, no bread (but) keep waiting for the illusionary cake. Who are they fooling?"

The move for a Constitutional body is a follow-up to the proposal made by All India Congress Committee General Secretary Rahul Gandhi at last month's Lok Sabha debate on Lokpal.

Bedi said the government should first come up with the Lokpal and then give it a Constitutional status when they have numbers. "Constitutional status is a way to kill the Lokpal bill as then 2/3rd majority is needed which will be far more difficult," she said.

Echoing her views, another Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan said, "We have been saying that it will be great if Lokpal could be made into a Constitutional authority, but making a Constitutional authority should not prevent it being made a statutory body."

"If the Constitutional amendment cannot go through or does not go through then at least the law or enactment should go through," Bhushan said.

He said the Congress and United Progressive Alliance should at least ensure that the Act is made in the process of making it a Constitutional body.

"It should not happen that the whole thing falls through. We would be very happy if it can be made into a Constitutional body with all the provisions of Jan Lokpal Bill," he said, adding "the proof in the pudding is in the eating and not in vague assurances."

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