[Presenting the Bahujan perspective i.e., the views of the SC/ST/OBC and religious minorities, on the proposed Lokpal legislation, the writer makes some useful suggestions to make the bill more inclusive- Round Table India]
We want to submit some suggestions regarding the Government of India's proposed Lokpal Bill. Like Anna's Lokpal Bill, our Lokpal Bill, named as 'Bahujan Lokpal Bill', should also tabled in the parliament and should be discussed in the same way as the other Bill.
We are demanding that following provisions should be taken into consideration when making the Government's Bill:
1. Like the Public Sector (PSUs), private sector companies, NGOs, Media groups should also be brought under the purview of Article 12 of the Constitution as 'other authority', and also be brought under the purview/jurisdiction of Lokpal.
2. Religious & Charitable Trusts, Maths, Mandirs, Waqf Boards, Churches, Gurudwaras and other religious entities should also be brought under the purview of the Lokpal Bill or a Religious Property Accountability Bill, like the Judicial Accountability Bill, should be mooted.
3. Representation for all communities -Dalits, Backward Classes, Adivasis, Religious Minorities etc- should be ensured in the Lokpal Selection Committee.
4. The selection of Lokpal should be debated in a Joint Session of the parliament and there should be discussion regarding his/her qualifications, conduct, character and reputation in public.
5. Representation for all communities- Dalits, Backward Classes, Adivasis, Religious Minorities etc- should be ensured in the constitution of members, in the Central/States' Lokpal Acts.
6. The minimum number of members of Lokpal should be not less than 14 and this office should come under the purview of reservations so that all communities would be represented.
7. The Head of Lokayukt should be appointed on a rotational basis so that every social group is represented.
8. The term of office of the Chairperson/Head should not be more than 2 years.
9. If it is proved that any member of the Lokpal is politically biased, he/she should be suspended immediately. But the process for removal should be similar to that adopted in the case of Justice/s of HC/SC.
10. The power/office of the Lokayukt should be equal to the power of a High Court.
11. The violation of or the non-implementation of the provision/s for reservation and social justice should be treated as corruption and for this the punishment should be same as that for corruption in an economic sense.
12. The misuse of SC/ST/OBC funds should be treated as corruption and for this the punishment should be same.
13. The definition of 'Corruption' should be expanded and money ammassed through cheating or fraud committed on illiterate citizens, and in the name of faith should also be treated as corruption.
14. The activity and conduct of Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assemblies should not come under the jurisdiction of the Lokpal.
15. The office and officers of Lokpal should come under the jurisdiction of Right to Information Act.
16. The Lokpal and Lokayukt should be united through a Bill but there should be equal respect for federal structure.
17. If there is conflict/contradiction between the provision of Constitution of India and Lokpal, the provision of Constitution of India should prevail.
18. The Lokpal Chairperson should be bound to disclose information on his and his family's wealth and property and there should be an audit of his wealth and property till after 10 years of end of his term of office.
Cartoon by Unnamati Syama Sundar.