Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Open Letter to Indian Against Corruption team

for whatever its worth, i wrote the following in a mail addressed to one of the co-ordinators of India Against Corruption in Bengaluru.

Dear Vijay Dwivedi,

The demand that IAC members be allowed to draft the bill along with govt representatives or else hunger strike, seems ridiculous. If IAC is so interested, why not try to convince a MP to table your Jan Lokpal bill as a private member bill in this parliamentary session itself? Why not talk to Rajeev Chandrasekhar here in Koramangala? In your zeal, you may be unwittingly trying to damage the institutions of our constitutional republic. Please, please stop this blackmail.

I think the question of which Lokpal bill to be tabled should be left to real leaders of the country, namely those headed by the Prime Minister.

The Jan Lokpal bill drafted by IAC is not necessarily a good one. The provision to bring CVC, CBI etc under the purview of the Lokpal, seems to go against the constitutional values of executive leadership. Please don't undermine the office of the Prime Minister. That CVC and CBI should be independent of political interference is obvious. But bringing them under someone (Lokpal) who is not elected by the people and not related to the Judiciary doesn't seem right. IAC should perhaps stick only to demands like adequate summoning powers and "the power to order a CBI enquiry against anyone" etc be given to the Lokpal.

A better way forward for IAC will be to demand a Parliamentary Committee on Appointments which will vote on crucial appointments like CVC, CBI director, CAG, Attorney General, Service chiefs, Election commissioners. We have all seen the senate and congressional hearings happen in the US for all major appointments other than elected offices.

I think the Lokpal and Lokayuktas should remain public ombuds[wo]men, meaning a facilitatory institution that will bridge the gap between the govt and the people. Not a super power, with its own police force, over and above the powers of the Judiciary and the state anti-corruption bodies like the CVC, CAG or CBI.

Curiously, no-body is talking about a Central Prosecution Commissioner. Just as the CAG watches over government accounts, a CPC can look at the arguments made by the public prosecutors in courts, arguing on behalf of the state.

When the Attorney General says that "integrity is not necessary to become CVC", he is obviously not keeping the best interests of the people or even the govt in mind and is failing in his job as a law officer of the state. He needs to be pulled up and a critical note written on his career papers by an independent CPC. Similarly the prosecutors in Gujarat riot cases or Bofors scandal etc should be monitored by a state or national level CPCs to ensure that they are not colluding with the accused. [i had suggested this CPC in BJP's campaign website lkadvani.in as well].


--- On Tue, 8/3/11, vijay dwivedi wrote:

From: vijay dwivedi
Subject: [IAC] Meeting between PM and IAC representatives(-MUST READ)
To: "India Against Corruption Karnataka"
Date: Tuesday, 8 March, 2011, 10:55 AM

Dear Friends,

The meeting yesterday evening between IAC representatives (Anna Hazare, Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal, Swami Agnivesh, Archbishop Vincent, Dr Kuldip Chikara (Bharat Swabhimaan Nyasa), Darshak Hathi (Art of Living) and PV Rajagopal) and the PM and Law Minister, Veerapan Moily was not very encouraging.

The PM said that the govt has no time to consider the issue of corruption till the 13th May due to the ongoing parliament session and the impeding elections in five states. The IAC representatives requested to take immediate action because the country was seething with anger and bleeding with corruption.

After great persuasion, he agreed to bring a Lokpal bill in the monsoon session of parliament. How would the bill be drafted and which bill would it be? He was informed that the govt bill was extremely badly drafted. The PM suggested that a subcommittee of "Group of Ministers (GOM)" will be constituted which will have two meetings with representatives of IAC after the 13th of May. The GOM will draft the bill accordingly after the interaction. When he was told that we were not willing to wait so long, he offered to have one symbolic meeting after 25th march when parliament session ends.

When he was requested to set up a joint committee consisting of half members from IAC and half from the government's side to prepare the draft Lokpal Bill by the 13th May when the elections end, the govt simply refused.

In effect, we stand where we were before the meeting. The meeting served no purpose except made the intention of the government clear. Annaji has decided that the whole country desperately needs to act immediately on corruption. He said that it was unfortunate that the govt does not have time to address this burning issue and therefore the movement would continue and intensify. His decision to go on fast on the 5th April stands as it is.

Annaji will write a letter to the PM today which will be shared with all of you.



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