I appeal to the India Against Corruption team to drop the (protest) fast planned for April 5, 2011.
For the following reasons:
1. In a Democracy, Parliament is the place to make laws. Not necessarily the Treasury benches let alone the Executive offices of the Cabinet. Please approach individual MPs directly to table the Janlokpal Bill as a private member bill and then lobby the entire house to debate and pass it.
2. The Prime Minister, has kept his promise to consult civil society activists in the draft of the Treasury version of the Lokpal Bill. There was a meeting yesterday. Thats more than what is required of the govt.
3. Lobby groups like IAC being allowed to draft the treasury version of a bill is not a good precedent. In the future, an argument could be made to involve RSS and other Hindutva Terror groups in drafting the Anti-Cow Slaughter bill or SIMI and other Jihadi Terror groups in drafting the Uniform Civil Code. The Group of Ministers has asked civil society to comment on the individual provisions of the Lokpal Bill. Thats what civil society should do.
4. Janlokpal Bill is not necessarily a good one. Infact, I find it anti-democratic and hence unconstitutional. Provisions like merging the CVC with Lokpal are debatable. And demanding that a collegium of Judges, Nobel and Bharat Ratna award recipients et al appoint the Lokpal might provoke hearty laughter, except that its plain anti-democratic. We are not a Platonic Republic but a Democratic Constitutional one.
The following is a mail I wrote this morning to one of the activists knowledgeable in the subject. And you may also want to read the previous open letter I wrote to the IAC team.
oh, you have put it very nicely. i'm also wondering how does this lokpal fit in with our constitutional republic. i asked Justice Santosh Hegde "if the Jan Lokpal Bill is consistent with our constitution and democracy". he said yes. but this was at the interaction program organized by IAC and i don't think i could convey my misgivings properly in a one line question.
i read both the drafts of lokpal and janlokpal, i don't find anything particularly wrong with the lokpal bill. it does require that the speaker/secretaries be approached to investigate a member of parliament/official. i don't find anything wrong with that. just that the lokpal office, on behalf of the complainant, should be able to approach the judiciary if it believes the speaker or the secretary is reneging in his/her duty to take cognizance of an offense.
other jan lokpal bill provisions like abolition of section 197 of CrPC are not really related to the lokpal. their demand to abolish the CVC and merging it into Lokpal seems to miss the whole point of CVC being a vigilance agency at the bureaucratic level while Lokpal being the proposed agency to investigate more sensitive constitutional offices of the republic.
however, i don't necessarily agree with lokpal becoming a stronger agency for investigation. Police, CBI, ED, CVC are these very institutions. just that they need a strong backer in the public ombudsman namely Lokpal, so that they can investigate without fear of being harassed by the powerful people they are investigating. for example, CBI functions much better when it has the backing of the supreme court. so Lokpal having the powers to order an inquiry by the police or CBI, advising the filing of an FIR, Chargesheet etc should be enough.
if anything, i find the whole concept of lokayukta police quite bizarre. why isn't the entire police of the state available to the lokayukta to investigate?
btw, have you had a chance to look at the French Conseil d'etat, which performs an advisory, but seemingly binding role in overseeing administrative omissions and commissions.