Disagreements have increased: Civil Society after Lokpal meeting

The Civil Society said that the core points of disagreements with the Government could not be resolved in today’s meeting of the Lokpal Drafting Committee, but some more areas of divergence have come up today.

“The disagreements remain as disagreements,” Arvind Kejriwal, one of the five Civil Society members on the Committee.

The new disagreements are over the constitution of the committee for the selection of the Lokpal. While the Civil Society wanted people like former chief justices of the Supreme Court, the Chief Election Commissioner, the Chief Vigilance Commissioner, the Chief Justice of India etc..

“However, the government wants mostly political people, such as the Prime Minister, leaders of both house of Parliament, speaker.. Too many politicians in the panel would create a conflict of interest. After all, no politician would want a very strong Lokpal looking over his actions,” Kejriwal said.

“We had proposed a broad-based selection committee consisting of independent people and non-political people, but the government wants mostly political people and people from the Government,” Prashant Bhushan, another Civil Society member and a leading Supreme Court lawyer.

The second point of disagreement was over the removal of the Lokpal. According to the government, only it had the right to approach the Supreme Court to complain against the Lokpal, but the Civil Society wants that right to be available to all citizens of India.

However, the Civil Society leaders appreciate the atmosphere of talks today, pointing out that it was better than before.

They also pointed out that the agreement level cannot be measured in a numerical fashion, but nearly all the major points were still under divergence.

“There is a difference on selection, a difference of opinion on removal, on the powers, on the scope.. To say there was an agreement on transparency… is a minor point,” Kejriwal said.

The Civil Society also emphasized that the consultation cannot be restricted to the political parties who face a conflict of interest in giving their inputs on an anti-corruption watchdog that will look over them. “The debate and discussion should not be restricted to the political parties.. There should be a debate and discussion with the people. The people’s responses should be listened to,” Prashant Bhushan said.

Sibal had said that the government would leave the areas of disagreement to be decided by the political parties alone.


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