Dalits push their version of Lokpal bill

October 15th, 2011 - 9:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) A representative of Dalit organisations Saturday sought support for their version of the anti-graft bill, claiming that the Jan Lokpal bill drafted by Team Anna “will disturb the constitutional balance”.

“The Jan Lokpal bill wants the executive, the judiciary and the legislature should report to the Lokpal. This will disturb the fine constitutional balance,” said All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations chairman Udit Raj, seeking support for their version of the proposed legislation called the Bahujan Lokpal bill.

Speaking at a seminar, he sought reservation for Dalits and minorities in the proposed anti-corruption set-up through the Bahujan Lokpal bill. “If Anna supports our demand, we will back him.”

“Dalits, including the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and minorities, form a large percentage of population and must be involved in the Lokpal,” Udit Raj said at the seminar on various versions of the proposed legislation.

Swami Agnivesh, a former member of Team Anna, also supported the demand for a quota for Dalits and minorities in the proposed Lokpal set-up.

“No legislation or movement will be successful if it does not have social justice,” said Agnivesh.

Shazia Ilmi, a member of Team Anna, said, “our movement follows parliamentary procedures” and “was not opposed to giving reservation to the Dalits and minorities”.

“We are basically against corruption and want a strong Lokpal,” said Shazia.

Udit Raj said even if the Lokpal bill was passed, “there is no guarantee it will be effective in rooting out corruption”.

The parliamentary standing committee on law and justice headed by Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi is looking into various drafts of the Lokpal bill, including the Jan Lokpal bill.

The panel is expected to submit its recommendations to parliament by the winter session, which is usually held in November-December.

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