Govt. should withdraw its Lokpal Bill: Prashant Bhushan

Last Updated: Wed, Aug 10, 2011 15:50 hrs

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Wednesday said the civil society activists are firm on their demand for withdrawal of the Lokpal Bill drafted by the government.

"We are going to put forward our views, that how the Bill prepared by the government will encourage corruption instated of curbing it and will provide protection to the corrupt officials. We will also say that the Jan Lokpal (Ombudsman) Bill we have prepared should be passed," said Bhushan, who is a member of the civil society activists in the Lokpal Bill joint drafting committee.

"We are still firm on our stand that the government should withdraw its Bill and bring a new Bill in the Parliament," he added.

Bhushan was speaking to mediapersons after the meeting of the civil society activists with the Parliamentary Standing Committee examining this Bill.

Veteran social activist Anna Hazare, RTI crusader Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and his father Shanti Bhushan were present in the meeting.

Civil society activists criticizing the draft of the Lokpal Bill prepared by the government earlier in the day said it would not be able to curb rising corruption in the country.

"It is good that the Ombudsman Bill draft has reached the Parliament but there is nothing good if a weak draft is tabled. The ministers have left aside our demands and we are demanding for the inclusion of those left aside points in the draft. They have made a useless draft, which is of no use. This draft would not be able to curb corruption. The draft is just for show," said Hazare.

"The standing committee meeting today is more of a formality because the bill presented by the government in the Parliament, discussing on that bill will waste the time of the Parliament and standing committee. There is nothing left to discuss in the draft," added Kejriwal.

Criticizing Union Telecommunications Minister Kapil Sibal, Hazare further said the civil society representative would continue to tread on the path of justice.

"Sibal said that my way and the government way is different. And the two of us will walk on different paths. Tell Sibal that he can do whatever he wants," he said.

Kejriwal added the civil society would continue with the scheduled hunger strike.

"The government has left us no option but to begin our hunger strike from August 16," said Kejriwal.

Hazare is set to begin an indefinite fast in New Delhi on August 16 to oppose the Bill drafted by the government, which has kept the Prime Minister, judiciary and lawmakers out of its ambit.

The much-debated Lokpal Bill, which aims to set up an anti-corruption watchdog in the country, was tabled in the Lok Sabha on August 4.

Hazare and his supporters, however, burnt copies of the Lokpal Bill in Pune later, claiming that the anti-corruption legislation tabled in its present form in Parliament, would not be able to deal with corruption.

The proposed legislation introduced in the Lok Sabha doesn't cover the Prime Minister within the purview of the ombudsman during his or her term in office. But once the Prime Minister demits the office, he or she may be investigated for any wrongdoing during the term. (ANI)