Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lok Satta to organize Round Table on Lok Pal Bill in Delhi – Dr.JP

Foundation for Democratic Reforms and Lok Satta, in association with organizations like Transparency International and Center for Media Studies will be organizing a round table conference in New Delhi in the third week of April to hammer out a consensus on the creation of a powerful and independent Lok Pal at the national level and Lok Ayuktas in States.

Announcing this at a media conference here today, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan expressed his whole-hearted support to social activist Anna Hazare’s crusade against corruption. He, however, appealed to Mr. Anna Hazare to call off his indefinite fast demanding adoption of a People’s Lok Pal Bill and wanted the Government to give a categorical assurance that it would consult all stakeholders before it finalized the Bill.

Dr. JP said that about 20 eminent people of impeccable integrity drawn from jurists, judiciary, and retired officials of the Vigilance Commission and the Election Commission of India would discuss the preliminary Lok Pal Bill drafted by officials, the recommendations of the first and the second Administrative Reforms Commission and the Law Commission, the provisions of Lok Ayukta Acts in States and successful institutions in countries like Hong Kong and arrive at a consensus on creating institutional mechanisms to root out corruption.

Dr. JP pointed out that the Lok Pal Bill on the drawing table is flawed in many respects. As per the Bill, the Lok Pal cannot initiate any inquiry on his own and can take up only cases referred to him by competent authorities. Instances of corruption dating back to five years become time-barred. The Lok Pal’s role is limited to giving a report on his findings because he is not empowered to take any action. Such a toothless Lok Pal at the national level would not help mitigate corruption, Dr. JP added.

Dr. JP said that corruption had become monumental because the guilty could now get away without the prospect of going to jail or their illegally acquired properties being attached.

The recent scandals relating to 2 G spectrum, the Adarsh Housing Society, the Commonwealth Games and allocation of scarce natural resources like mines have created a climate conducive for resolute action against corruption.

He appealed to people in all districts to organize round table conferences to ascertain how corruption could be fought effectively.

Replying to a question, Dr. JP said that the party would take a decision on contesting by-elections to the Assembly and the Lok Sabha from Kadapa after consultations with district party leaders.

In reply to another question, he said that India’s victory in World Cup cricket came as a beacon of light in a country enveloped in gloom and despair over corruption scandals.

Lok Satta Party leaders V. Lakshman Balaji, K. Gita Murthy, S, Manorama, P. Panduranga Rao and D. Sivaji took part in the meeting.

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