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No need to spilt Lokpal Bill: Hazare

By Onkar Singh
Last updated on: November 05, 2011 16:10 IST
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Team Anna met the members of the Standing Committee of Parliament headed by Abhishek Singvi on Friday to discuss the Jan Lokpal Bill and pressed for as many as 34 fresh additions to the proposed Lokpal Bill that have already been incorporated in the Uttarakhand Lokayukata Bill. They renewed their demand that constitutional amendments bringing violation of citizens' charter and conduct of legislators in Parliament within the purview of the Lokpal also be introduced.

Softening his stand, social activist Anna Hazare told the Standing Committee on Personnel and Law and Justice that it would be acceptable to his team "if the government brought in strong legislation on citizen's charter, grievance redress, whistle blowers' protection and judicial accountability to have a "strong legal system" to tackle corruption. 

"We want a comprehensive Lokpal Bill and do not feel there is any need to split it into different legislations. But if the government can bring in strong enabling legislation there is no harm. However, so far what we have seen of the proposed citizen's charter and judicial accountability bills is that they are very weak. The judicial accountability bill as proposed does not touch corruption issue at all and that is not acceptable to us," Hazare told journalists after the four hour-long deliberations during which MPs sought clarifications from Team Anna on the amendments sought by them. 

Hazare, who arrived in New Delhi on Thursday night to take part in the proceeding of the Standing Committee broke his 19-day maun vrat after a visit to Rajghat onn Friday morning. He said that there was some "resolution of issues" - not full resolution but "to some extent." 

"We
have been assured of a strong bill on Lokpal and this has raised hope. We believe the chairman and members of the Standing Committee. After all, they are not from England or Pakistan; they are from our country. If we come up with a strong bill, other countries will follow suit. The impact of the Uttarakhand Lokayukta law, for instance, will be felt soon," Hazare said after four-and-a-half-hour meeting with the members of the Standing Committee. 

He said there might have been use of strong words (against politicians) when there were some shortcomings, but there was nothing personal. "We are all working together for society and the country."

This was contrary to his statement earlier in the day about launching an agitation against the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government if the Jan Lokpal Bill was not passed in the winter session of Parliament. 

MPs who participated in the deliberations questioned Team Anna on the absence in its Bill of corruption in the corporate sector, media and non-governmental organisations. "An anti-corruption bill should be all-encompassing," Lok Jan Shakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan said.

To this Team Anna said that if the government wanted to expand the definition of corruption, it could do so while Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad Yadav took exception to Team Anna sharing the deliberations of the panel with the media. 

Some of the MPs sought representation to the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes and others on the Lokpal panel. A few Congress MPs said that the Prevention of Corruption Act was enough to tackle corruption. It was the implementation of law that was required. 
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Onkar Singh in New Delhi
 
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