Justice Hegde says Govt. not willing to bring strong Lokpal Bill
Bangalore, Dec 21 (ANI): Expressing disappointment with the Centre's draft of the anti-graft bill, former Karnataka Lokayukta and Team Anna member Justice Santosh Hegde on Wednesday said the government is standing high on prestige and ego and is creating the Lokpal institution just for the sake of creating one, without empowering it.
"I personally feel that having realised people of India wanting an institutional Lokpal they will bring an institution. But they don't want to bring it in two manners. One is they don't want to bring strong Lokpal, because it is an institution which will investigate themselves only under," said Hegde.
"Secondly, they are standing on certain prestige, 'oh this is suggested by Anna, we will not accept it, we will bring it in another bill so that Anna should not get the credit for it'," he added.
Hegde also expressed his dissatisfaction over the exclusion of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from the Lokpal ambit.
"I am not at all satisfied with the proposed bill, which is to be placed before the house. There are very many deliberate omissions or some changes made either to show defiance or not to serve the objective, the act. Basically, I am very disappointed with the decision of the cabinet not to empower the Lokpal to investigate and give that wing of the CBI, which is specialised in anti-corruption work, as part of the Lokpal team," said Hegde.
"Now, they want to create a Lokpal as a constitutional body but when it comes to investigation, they want to endorse it to a body, which they claim is autonomous. In the sense, they can accept the complaint or they may not accept the complaint," he added.
Hegde further demanded that the Lokpal should have its own investigating agency, which has the power to take the guilty to court.
"If you examine it, what it says is that the Lokpal institution can enquire but not investigate, in the sense it becomes a preliminary body just to look into it and lodge a complaint and rest of the things will be looked after by the investigating agency. This is not correct at all," said Hegde.
"It must have its own investigating agency, it must have the power to take the people who are prima facie and proved to be guilty of corrupt practice to the court and prosecute them also," he added.
Hegde further said the Lokpal should probe the Prime Minister only if he is involved in corrupt practices.
"Prime Minister's post carries various responsibilities, certain political decisions, certain decisions which are to be taken, which is not connected with corruption at all, in that Lokpal need not have any power of investigation," said Hegde.
"Its only in matter where the decisions or the act of the Prime Minister gets involved in corruption, those areas the power of investigation should be there that I think they have given," he added.
The Union Cabinet had on Tuesday approved a historic bill for creation of the Lokpal with Constitutional status. A new Lokpal Bill will now be introduced in the Lok Sabha tomorrow.
Veteran social activist Anna Hazare has, however, raised objections to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) being kept out of the ambit of the anti-graft bill, and threatened to go ahead with his proposed three-day fast from December 27 for a strong Lokpal Bill. (ANI)
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