By Dr. C. M. Seth
Supreme Court, taking cognizance of the large number of deaths of pilgrims while on Shr..
Sushma rips Government's bill apart, terms it full of confusions
Leader of Opposition in Loksabha, Sushma Swaraj, in her, hour
long speech ripped apart government’s version of Lokpal bill as
full of confusions, against constitutional establishment, and
misplaced. She pointed out numerous technical, conceptual and
operational issues in Government’s draft.
She started with citing from the Constitution’s article 252 and 253, which deal with the situations when Parliament can make laws for the states. She highlighted the contradiction between government’s ministers on the issue of whether Lokayukt’s appointment will be mandatory for states or if it’ll be optional. She asserted that the government is bringing it under article 253 which deals with International treaties, and there, it cannot be provisioned to be optional, which is the case, and if the government wants to make it optional, then it has to be under article 252, and for that government will require the proposal from 2 states. She also cited the example of Uttarakhand’s Lokpal bill, terming it exemplary.
She pointed out how the bill calls for “no less than 50% reservation” while the constitutional upper limit is of 50%. Since Lokpal will have 9 members, no less than 50% means 5 which is greater than 50%, hence constitutionally unacceptable. Then, she said that if Lokpal is to be made a Constitutional body, the constitution doesn’t allow any form of reservation in constitutional bodies. She also reiterated that reservation for minorities cannot be allowed as the constitution doesn’t allow that. She pointed out how Lokpal will not be capable to even appoint his/her secretary, but at the same time, will be powerful enough to summon the Speaker of the Loksabha to furnish report if the complaint is against a member of the house.
She also raised the issue of how government had refused to put lower bureaucracy under the ambit of Lokpal and in the present draft, they’ve provisioned for the former and incumbent Directors of all the temples, mosques, churches, Gurudwaras, Hospitals, Schools and Colleges, under the ambit of 9-member Lokpal team. She also came down heavily on the protection given to the PM and the illogical exit procedure for Lokpal. She also condemned CBI’s being put under multiple bosses.
She alleged that government is afraid of the mass-movement and is rushing into the bill because it’s hurting their credibility. She said that Government’s bill serves no purpose and weakens the already existing framework also.
The bill was later passed as the Loksabha rejected Rahul Gandhi's idea of constitutional status, and adopted the bill with amendments. Read here : [Rahul's idea rejected by Lok Sabha, Pranab angry, Lokpal bill passed with amendments]
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