Hegde slams govt attempt to split Lokpal provisions

N Santosh Hegde
Bangalore, Nov 5: Key Team Anna member N Santosh Hegde today (Nov 5) accused the government of trying to bring in multiple legislations by splitting provisions mooted by the civil society group.

"There is an attempt to make multiple bills," the former Supreme Court judge told PTI, pointing out that the bills such as Right to Service and Judges Accountability that are being talked about by the government, are in fact part of suggestions mooted by Team Anna in their draft bill.

"...that attempt is going on which is disturbing," Hegde said and alleged that the Jan Lokpal draft is now being sought to be bifurcated to "have an argument that we (the government) have not rejected it...but we are bringing separate bills."

The former Karnataka Lokayukta noted that Team Anna had included Judges Accountability Bill in its draft when it was pending for a long time and nobody was talking about and fighting for it, adding that the Right to Service Bill would come under the citizen's charter mooted by the group.

"Right now, let them (the Government) show their concern for a strong Lokpal" which, he said, needs special attention. Separate Right to Service and Judges Accountability bills can come later and once they are enacted, those relevant portions can be deleted from Lokpal.

Suggestions in some government quarters that the bill to be introduced in the Parliament would in fact be stronger than the one mooted by Team Anna are (only) a "good talk," and the question is "when will that be (a stronger bill)."

Asked if he is confident or pessimistic about government introducing a strong Lokpal bill, Hegde said the institution of Lokpal will come with the bill which otherwise would not have come but for Anna's movement. It would have taken another 30-40 years.

"But how strong it will come is a matter which we are concerned because though they have been talking about it strongly that they will bring strong bill...that type of bill and this type of bill…...everybody is saying in different voices...but there is an attempt to make multiple bills."

He said that his apprehension is that the government's bill would not be up to the expectations of Team Anna. "That's why Anna Hazare is also talking tough."

Asked if he is comfortable with Hazare's position on campaigning against Congress in five poll-bound states if a strong bill in not passed in Parliament in the winter session, he said, "Well, I suppose something has to be done. So, I may not be in poll business...campaigning. But I suppose if we keep quiet, then no political party would want this (strong Lokpal bill)."

But Hegde hastened to add that Hazare has made it very clear that he is not going to oppose any political party as such. "Generally he (Hazare) is against the system of politics prevailing which is not bringing in good laws," he added.


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