Social activists demand fullproof Ombudsman Bill to curb corruption

Sunday, February 27, 2011

NEW DELHI - Prominent social activists such as Anna Hazare and ex-cop Kiran Bedi have demanded that the government introduce an Ombudsman Bill at the earliest to curb the spread of corruption in Indian society.

Criticising the present draft of the proposed Bill, Hazare said it has many loopholes and would not be able to check corruption.

“The government says that they are coming out with a Lokpal Bill to curb corruption. Sonia Gandhi, even Manmohan Singh has also said that they are bringing their bill and that it would stop corruption. The draft made by the government of the bill is so weak that it would never be able to control corruption,” Hazare said.

Hazare argued that the civil society should have equal share in writing the draft bill that would curb activities that gorge up public money and funds.

“Before the Lokpal bill is tabled in the parliament, it is necessary that an apt draft is formulated. The present draft is definitely not of any standard. To prepare the draft bill, a board should be formed which is balanced between members of government and civil society. Fifty percent should represent government while the other 50 percent should be representatives from the civil society. Together they should sit and formulate the draft and then take it to the people to know their opinion. Take their suggestion and then make a final draft of the bill,” he said.

Hazare informed that he had written a letter to the Prime Minister asking him to take a decision on the committee and if the government failed to implement the demands he would go on an indefinite fast from April 5.

Kiran Bedi and Swami Aganivesh, a spiritual leader and social activist, were also present at media interaction.

The Lok Pal is synonymous to the institution of Ombudsman existing in the Scandinavian countries.

The Lok Pal bill would enable citizens to sue even the Prime Minister for corruption. Successive governments have tabled the bill in the lower house of Parliament on seven occasions since 1969, but the bill lapsed every time for different reasons.

Since the last few months, the Congress-led federal ruling coalition government has come under intense public and political scrutiny for not initiating prompt and stringent measures to quell the financial mismanagement rampant in the system.

Besides the telecom scam, the other issue hitting the Congress party is the Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi in October 2010 that were marred by charges of rampant corruption, dubious contracts and poor workmanship.

Also the 31-storey Adarsh Housing Society, originally meant for the dependants of the martyrs of Kargil conflict, landed in controversy in which several politicians, bureaucrats and defence personnel not entitled for these benefits had owned flats there. (ANI)

Filed under: India

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