Hazare reiterates August 15 deadline for the Lokpal Bill

April 20, 2011 - 0:0

NEW DELHI (IANS) -- Social and political activist Anna Hazare has reiterated that the August 15 deadline for passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill was set in stone, warning that failure to adhere to it will lead to mass protests.

“Even the government has admitted that it is realistic for Parliament to deliberate and take a decision on the JLB by the 15th August deadline set by me. Thus failure of this deadline will invite mass protests by the people,” Hazare said in a statement issued on Monday.
The statement was apparently released to clarify reports in the media that the August 15 deadline was flexible, and that Anna Hazare was ready to accept any decision of Parliament.
“There is also confusion being created in the media through government sources that the civil society has climbed down in the first Joint Drafting Committee meeting held on April 16th, 2011,” he said.
He asserted that the civil society members have not climbed down from their position to bring the prime minister, cabinet ministers and judiciary under the purview of Lokpal.
Hazare said that if political parties vote against the Jan Lokpal Bill they will “eventually be hurting their popularity and exposing their mala-fide intentions”.
“In such an event, we will again take to streets,” he added. The veteran Gandhian (follower of Mahatma Gandhi) said that people needed to monitor parliament’s decision in a functioning democracy.
“This is especially true as the same parliament has failed to pass a Lokpal Bill for the past 42 years. In addition, significant number of elected representatives have used money, muscle power, election fraud, misinformation in the media, etc. to win seats, undermining the sanctity and credibility of the parliamentary system.
Therefore, we the citizens have to ensure that a strong Lokpal Bill is passed,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was moved in the Supreme Court on Monday seeking quashing of the notification by which a joint drafting committee on the Lokpal Bill was set up.
The petitioner said that the notification is both “unconstitutional and ultra vires of the rules of procedure for conducting Parliament proceedings”.
The PIL said that “no politician or committee or social worker have right to take the right of general public to make a bill”. He said that the existing Lokpal Bill was pending before a parliamentary committee for its consideration.
The PIL seeking quashing of the notification was moved by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma.
The petitioner has sought the court’s direction to the government to publish the contents of the already pending Lokpal Bill after incorporating recommendations and suggestions by various commissions and committees.
Thereafter, the government should invite suggestions from the public for further improving it before it is taken up by the parliament for enactment of the law.
The petitioner has also sought a CBI probe into the “professional misconduct” of the father-son duo Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan for their role in setting up of the joint draft committee on the Lokpal Bill having five members of civil society and their involvement in an alleged land scam in Allahabad.
The petition has also sought prosecution of the Bhushans on the basis of the findings by the investigating agency.
Shanti Bhushan, the petitioner said, had claimed that he had the evidence of corruption against eight former Chief Justices of India (CJI). But he never initiated any action against them during his tenure as union law minister and “continues to misuse them for his vested interest”.