Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Delhi Round Table to sort out Contentious Lok Pal issues: Dr.JP

Eminent citizens of unimpeachable credentials and rich and varied experience in a host of fields are congregating in New Delhi on April 24 to build a consensus on the proposed Lok Pal and other institutional mechanisms to combat corruption.

The Lok Satta, Foundation for Democratic Reforms, Transparency International, and Centre for Media Studies are organizing the Round Table.

Addressing a media conference, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said here today that the day-long deliberations at the India International Center would grapple with contentious issues and strive to arrive at a consensus. Significantly, all the civil society members included in the committee appointed by the Union Government to draft the Lok Pal Bill will be taking part in the Round Table.

The Round Table will focus on questions like:

Should the Prime Minister be brought under the purview of the Lok Pal?

Should the Lok Pal have jurisdiction over higher judiciary too?

How should anti corruption agencies like the CBI and the Vigilance Commission at the national level be seamlessly integrated with the Lok Pal?

What sort of mechanisms should be built at the State level to combat corruption?

Dr. JP disclosed that the Lok Satta Party would fine tune the Bill to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act which it had proposed in 2009 and submit it to the Chief Minister and leaders of all Opposition parties soon. With all political parties in the State publicly committing themselves to corruption eradication, he was hopeful of the legislature adopting the Bill.

Dr. JP said that institution of a Lok Pal and amendments to anti corruption laws are necessary but not sufficient to tackle the deeply entrenched pandemic of corruption. Decentralization of power and electoral reforms are essential to root out corruption in the long run. Meanwhile, institution of mechanisms that hold out prospect of certain imprisonment and forfeiture of ill-gotten property would send the right message to the corrupt.

In this context, Dr. JP cited how political parties in the neighboring State of Tamil Nadu and those contesting by-elections in Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh have resorted to splurging black money to get elected and said that corruption could not be eradicated unless the political system was thoroughly cleansed. He asked people to realize that those who spend hundreds of crores of rupees in elections are interested in earning many times more than their investment and not in public welfare. He would appeal to voters in Kadapa to reject all the contestants who viewed elections as a means to enrich themselves.

Replying to a question, he said he was confident of Parliament adopting the Lok Pal Bill since political parties could not afford to ignore the nation’s mood in the wake of Anna Hazare’s fast. Parliament, he recalled, had adopted laws on right to information and contributions to political parties.

Dr. JP congratulated ISRO scientists on the successful launch of the PSLV.

The following is a list of invitees to the Round Table:

1. Justice MN Venkatachaliah, former Chief Justice of India
2. Justice JS Verma, Former Chief Justice of India
3. Justice Santosh Hegde, Karnataka Lokayukta
4. Justice Rajindar Sachar, Chief Justice (Retd) - High Court of Delhi
5. Sri Fali S Nariman, distinguished Indian Constitutional jurist, and senior advocate to the Supreme Court of India
6. Sri Soli Sorabjee, Former Attorney General of India
7. Sri Ram Jethmalani, Former Law Minister of India a senior advocate to the Supreme Court of India
8. Anil B Divan, Sr. Advocate Supreme Court of India
9. Sri Prashant Bhushan, Supreme Court Advocate
10. Sri Ashok Arora, Advicate & former Secretary Supreme Court Bar Association
11. Sri Sanjay Parikh, Supreme Court Advocate
12. Sri N Gopalaswami, former Chief Election Commissioner of India
13. Sri JM Lyngdoh, former Chief Election Commissioner of India
14. Sri TS Krishnamurthy, former Chief Election Commissioner of India
15. Sri P Shankar, former Chief Vigilance Commissioner
16. Sri Pratyush Sinha, former Chief Vigilance Commissioner
17. Dr Bhaskara Rao, Chairman, Centre for Media Studies
18. Admiral RH Tahiliani, Former Chief of the Naval Staff
19. Sri P.S. Bawa, Chairman, Transparency International India
20. Dr Jayaprakash Narayan, General Secretary, Foundation for Democratic Reforms & founder of Lok Satta and Lok Satta Party
21. Sri Surendra Srivastava, Social Activist and State Coordinator Lok Satta Maharashtra
22. Sri Wajahat Habibullah, Chairman , National Commission for Minorities,
23. Sri Prakash Singh, formerly Director General BSF, DGP UP and Assam,
24. Dr R.K.Raghavan,, Former Director, CBI
25. Dr. Trinath Mishra, Former Director, CBI
26. Dr Kamal Kumar, former Director, National Police Academy
27. Sri C Anjaneya Reddy, Former DGP Andhra Pradesh
28. Sri PS Ramamohan Rao, Former Governor Tamil Nadu
29. Sri Julio Ribeiro, Indian Ambassador to Romania & retired police officer
30. D.R.Kaarthikeyan, Former Director, CBI
31. Ms Madhu Kishwar, a leading feminist, and editor of Manushi (a journal devoted to human rights and women's rights issues)
32. Prof Yogendra Yadav, social scientist
33. Sri K.N. Govindacharya, Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan
34. Dr. Subramanian Swamy, President of Janata Party & former Law Minister of India
35. Sri Sudesh Agarwal, Smast Bhartiya Party
36. Ms Aruna Roy , Social Activist
37. Smt. Vineeta Rai, member secretary, 2nd ARC
38. Sri V. Ramachandran, Former Chief Secretary to Govt & was Joint Secretary to Prime Ministers (Smt. Indira Gandhi and Shri. Morarji Desai), Chairman, Centre for Management Development
39. Sri Shekar Gupta
40. Sri B.G.Verghese, former Editor, Indian Express and Hindustan Times
41. Sri Sivaramakrishnan K C, former Secretary to Government of India
42. Sri Pratap Bhanu Mehta, President & Chief Executive - Centre for Policy Research
43. Sri Subhash C Kashyap, Member of the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution and Chairman of its Drafting and Editorial Committee.
44. Sri TSR Subramanian, Former Cabinet secretary
45. Sri Naresh Chandra, Former Cabinet secretary
46. Sri B B Tandon, Former Chief Election Commissioner of India
47. Sri VA Pai Panandiker, Academy of International Education
48. Smt Indu Jain, Chairperson, Times Foundation
49. Smt. Shobhana Bhartia, former Rajya Sabha Member
50. Mr. Thakurta
51. Mr. Priteesh Nandi
52. Sri Parth J. Shah, President, Centre for Civil Society
53. Dr. R. Balasubramaniam, MBBS, MPhil, MPA, Founder, Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement
54. Shri Anna Hazare, Social activist
55. Shri Shanti Bhusan, former Union Law Minister & well known Supreme Court Advocate
56. Shri Aravind Kejariwal, Social Activist, Parivartan
57. Smt Kiran Bedi, (IPS Retd.), social activist and a retired(IPS) officer
58. Shri Harsh Mander, Member NAC & Centre for Equity Studies,
59. Sri Shekhar Singh, Working Committee Member, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI)
60. Sri N Ram, Editor-in-Chief - The Hindu, Chennai
61. Sri Nikhil Dey, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Rajasthan
62. Sri Venkatesh Nayak, programme Coordinator, CHRI
63. Sri Sukumar Muralidharan, International Federation of Journalists
64. Justice Mukul Mudgal, former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court
65 Dr. Mridula Mukherjee, Director, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
66. Sri Shailesh Gandhi, Central Information Commissioner
67. Sri K. K. Jaswal, I.A.S. ( Retd.), Director, Common Cause
68. Sri BR Lall, former Jt Director – CBI
69. Ms Maja Daruwala, Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative


  1. hope this round table conference will become a land mark just as anna's fast ...

  2. I hope Dr.Jayaprakash Narayana Efforts will succeed. He is Land mark for Honesty. Honest persons whatever they will do that is for benefits of the public only.

  3. Karthik (Bangalore)April 22, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    This is a really good initiative. I'm seeing lots of vocal cynics and skeptics out there regarding the proposals of the bill. Hopefully such a round table discussion between experts will assuage their concerns (atleast of those skeptics who have an open mind).

  4. All the Best.......

  5. Really good initiative!!!
    Heads off to JP.

  6. PM should not come under purview of Lokpal - my personal non-expert opinion :)

  7. ^above, why excepting PM from Lokpal.

  8. Firstly, best of luck Sir !!!! :)

    When some body asks me whom should I vote all politicians are corrupt ! I have at least one name to answer ! JP !!!!!!! , JP Jindabad !

    I wish you all the best

  9. There is no value we can give for this effort !!!!!
    They cant throw mud on all these Great people.
    Rock Solid Lokpal is not so far......

  10. Where is our beloved T.N.Seshan? Was he invited and he is not able to make it?

  11. The current point of disagreement is the prosecution power of Lokpal proposed by the Civil Society. Let us look at other Constitutional bodies. For example CAG does not have prosecutive authority. It has investigative and reporting authority. Parliament is the final authority to act on its recommendations there by democracy is followed. Lokpal does need prosecutive powers and at the same time we need to make sure the principles of democracy are not violated. It may be provided with investigative and prosecutive powers for cases with every one except PM and CJI. It should still have investigative powers for cases with PM and CJI but it should report its findings to the parliament for further action there by abiding by the democratic principles. In case, its findings against the PM and CJI are true and for some reason Parliament is not willing to punish CJI or PM, then it should have the powers to appeal to the President of India and even to call for a public referendum in case the President does not take action.
    We may have to make it more democratic and responsible but at the same time we should give enough freedom and powers to meet its responsibilities.
    Special care should be taken by the Lokpal before admitting complaints against the PM and CJI so that their constitutional authority is not eroded as feared by some quarters. Lokpal bill should have clear directions to the Lokpal in admitting cases against the PM and CJI. BUT NEVER EVER THEY SHOULD BE OUT OF THE AMBITS OF LOKPAL.

  12. Hope Dr. JP and others who are not in favor of bringing the PM under ambit of Lokpal would have, by this time, read the news about the Supreme Court talking over the investigation of black money. Does it not mean the PM and PMO is failing its duty? Is it intentional or procedural? To me it looks more intentional.
    Of late, we are seeing the Supreme court intervening and taking over a lot of the responsibilities of the executive branch. Is the Supreme court a democratic body? It is not. It is a constitutional body and it still is investigating all these scandals which may or may not end up with the PM/PMO. So what is wrong with entrusting Lokpal with that responsibility? That will take this load of work off of Supreme court's shoulders and will let it focus on cases.
    With the intervention of supreme court, in all these cases that it took over, has the PM become defunct as you claim. Come on. Please open your eyes and see the ground realities. Support the cause to include every one on the Indian soil to come under Lokpal.
    I am happy that the deeds of the government are making the case of the civil society stronger and stronger.
    One fact every one forgets is that the constitution is not set on hard stone. It was created by the wise men with the knowledge, experience and belief they had 60 years ago. Unless the constitution evolves with the change in time, it is bound to end up being a piece of paper!!