Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lok Satta alleges collusion in appointment Of Information Commissioners

The Lok Satta Party today charged that both the Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition colluded with each other in packing the State Information Commission mostly with people known for their political affiliation or family ties with leaders or former bureaucrats.

In a media statement, Lok Satta Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma said that the way in which full-time commissioners have been chosen after undue delay will undermine implementation of the historic Right to Information Act.

He pointed out that the committee which chose the commissioners ignored people who have been striving to promote public awareness about the Act and its decision lacked transparency and accountability.

He recalled the role played by Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan in the ushering in of the revolutionary Act in 2005 and said the present appointments ran counter to the spirit of the Act. Lok satta proposed that the Selection Committee for Information Commissioners should comprise of the Chief Minister, Chief Justice of High Court and the Leader of Opposition. The government changed the composition and brought in a minister in place of Chief Justice. The law needs to be amended to include Chief Justice in the Selection Committee.

Do away with prior sanction

Mr. Varma described the Supreme Court judgment on granting permission for prosecution of top officials and public representatives as a slap in the face of successive Governments and parties speaking with a forked tongue on the Lokpal Bill.

He recalled that the Lok Satta Party has all along demanded that the Central Bureau of Investigation and Anti Corruption Bureaus be armed with powers to go ahead with prosecution without seeking prior sanction. The CBI and ACBs need not seek prior Government sanction if the relevant Section 6 A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code were amended.

If prior clearance is deemed necessary, the proposed Lokpal and Lokayuktas can be given such powers. But under no circumstances the powers should remain with Governments, the Lok Satta told the Standing Committee considering the Lokpal and the Lokayuktas Bill, Mr. Varma said.

The Lok Satta leader reiterated the party stand that elected public representatives and top bureaucrats be brought under the purview of the Prevention of Corruption Act, those guilty of corruption be tried in special courts with prosecutors being independent, and properties of the corrupt be confiscated.

Mr. Varma added, "The purpose of Government is to make it easy for people to do good; and difficult to do evil. We should apply that standard to judge laws."

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