Rajya Sabha members want stronger measures against graft

August 25th, 2011 - 12:52 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 24 (IANS) Members of the Rajya Sabha Wednesday exhorted the government to take stronger measures to fight corruption, but said supremacy of parliamentary institutions in law making should be preserved in dealing with demands concerning the Lokpal bill of Team Hazare.

Replying to the debate in Rajya Sabha on growing incidence of corruption in the country, Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy said the Jan Lokpal Bill, drafted by Hazare’s team, had been referred to the parliamentary standing committee considering the government’s Lokpal bill.

He also listed various steps being taken by the government including the whistle-blowers bill and the judicial accountability bill to bring greater accountability in governance.

Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley, who initiated the debate, said the government had introduced its bill in haste and accused it of mishandling the Hazare fast.

He said the proposals of the civil society like inclusion of the prime minister in the ambit of Lokpal, greater judicial accountability and public grievance redressal mechanism were reasonable.

Communist Party of India-Marxist member Sitaram Yechury said the government should withdraw its Lokpal bill and bring a new bill incorporating provisions of Jan Lokpal, the bill prepared by other civil society groups and suggestions of political partes.

Memebers however stressed that the supremacy of parliament in legislation making cannot be compromised.

Hazare, fasting for nine days against the government’s Lokpal bill - currently being examined by the standing committee - has been stressing that the government introduce and pass the Jan Lokpal bill by Aug 30.

Team Anna’s bill proposes to bring the office of the prime minister, judiciary and the lower bureacracy under the Lokpal in cases related to corruption. The official Lokpal bill, which has already been moved in the Lok Sabha, does not have these provisions as the government does not want an overbearing institution without any accountability, sources on the treasury benches said.

A Congress MP from Uttar Pradesh had submitted Team Hazare’s bill to the standing committee, while the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information had also submitted their version of the Lokpal bill to the panel. BJP Lok Sabha member Varun Gandhi too said he would present the Jan Lokpal bill as a private member’s bill in the lower house of parliament.

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