Govt ‘not sincere’ on Lokpal bill

December 12, 2013 - 7:25:39 am

Supporters of anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare take part in a candle-lit march in Amritsar yesterday. Hazare’s indefinite hunger strike to press for the passage of the Jan Lokpal bill entered its second day.
New Delhi: The government is not sincere in getting the Lokpal bill passed in parliament, BJP leader Arun Jaitley has told social activist Anna Hazare, while conveying his party’s desire to pursue the legislation with sincerity.

In a letter to the social activist who has started an indefinite agitation for passage of the Lokpal bill, Jaitley said the government used its majority in the Lok Sabha to approve the bill on December 27, 2011 to create a Lokpal “not as an independent institution but as a government controlled entity”.

Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, wrote the letter on Tuesday in response to Hazare’s letter sent to him on November 30. He said the Bharatiya Janata Party had made several proposals to the select committee of Rajya Sabha formed after the Lokpal bill came to the house but the government diluted the panel’s recommendations.

“I am writing to you to remove any possibility of misunderstanding on this issue which is indicated in your letter. My party and I am fully committed to the highest norms of public accountability and, therefore, believe that the Lokpal should be brought into force immediately,” Jaitley said.

He said the bill passed in December 2011 by Lok Sabha was “neither the Jan Lokpal nor had it measured to our expectations”.

“Surely, creation of a ‘sarkari’ Lokpal could not be your objective or ours,” the BJP leader said.

He said the bill was taken up in Rajya Sabha on December 29, 2011, and the entire opposition rallied against the provisions of the bill passed in the Lok Sabha as it sought to create a “sarkari Lokpal”.

He said the BJP was committed to passing the legislation and had suggested major amendments to make the Lokpal a credible institution but the Rajya Sabha was adjourned by the chairman.

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