Aruna roy & co's lokpal draft echoes govt's stand

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Old 19-Jun-2011
Aruna roy & co's lokpal draft echoes govt's stand

New Delhi June 19:

At a time when social activist Anna Hazare and his team are locked in a decisive battle with the government over the Lokpal bill, fellow civil society activists are working on a parallel draft that shares common ground with the dispensation.

A draft Lokpal bill, being debated by National Advisory Council (NAC) member Aruna Roy and other activists under the aegis of the National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI), bears uncanny similarity to the views aired by the government. The draft, expected to be ready by month-end, comes at a time when Team Anna has expressed their disagreement with the government on several contentious provisions related to the powers of the Lokpal.

However, NCPRI refuted the suggestion that the draft made by them echoed the government's views, making it a more "acceptable version" as opposed to the Team Anna draft. NCPRI member Venkatesh Nayak said, "There is no conscious design to draft a bill according to the government's views. These views are coming from NCPRI after consultations. We think this is a reasonable way to deal with the issue of corruption."

In contrast to Team Anna's vision of the Lokpal that is supposed to be a multi-layered structure dealing with corruption at all levels, the draft Lokpal bill being prepared by the NCPRI restricts itself to corruption only at the highest level in sync with the views expressed by the government. Akin to the government, the think-tank believes that higher judiciary should be exempted from the Lokpal even as Team Anna's version of the anti-graft bill says that judiciary should be included. The NCPRI feels that higher judiciary should be dealt with in the judicial accountability bill.

In departure to the government's view on exclusion of conduct of MPs and the office of the Prime Minister, the NCPRI draft seeks to bring both in the ambit of the Lokpal with certain exceptions, whose details are still being worked out. The NGO plans to submit the draft to the government after June 30.

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