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Jan Lokpal Bill undermines democracy: experts

Marya Shakil | http://maryashakil

Updated: April 8, 2011, 8:57 AM IST
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Jan Lokpal Bill undermines democracy: experts
The Jan Lokpal Bill calls for no participation of govt in the selection committees of Lokayuktas.

New Delhi: The Jan Lokpal bill calls for no participation of government in the selection committees of Lokayuktas.

Does this undermine the very essence of democracy and the role of our public representatives?

While civil society and ordinary citizens are rallying behind Satyagrahi Anna Hazare by batting for the Jan Lok Pal bill, the protest at Jantar Mantar is raising a few worrying questions

Does the Jan Lokpal bill as proposed by Anna Hazare bypass the government?

NAC member Harsh Mander said, "Corruption is a complex issue. But they want Jan Lok Pal Bill to be the investigator, prosecutor and judge together, that's highly dangerous. We cannot create a frankenstein in its pleas."

Experts say the supporters of the Jan Lok Pal bill are batting for a selection committee that would include Magsaysay Prize winners, senior-most judges and Bharat Ratna award winners.

The Administration would be represented by the presiding officers of Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, the Chief Election Commissioner and the Comptroller and Auditor General.

This raises a question on the role of the people who have been democratically elected. Will this become a super grievance cell?

Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Hegde said he is open to this because many of the provisions had been opposed by him but had to be accepted because of the concensus of the committee. "Maybe the representatives of the government can convince the representatives of the civil society that no, this should not be there," he said.

It's a celebration of democracy at the Jantar Mantar. But experts say that the movement behind the Jan Lokpal Bill perhaps undermines the democratic institutions and processes. They say that the civil society should engage with the institutions within the framework of the constitution and not sideline some of the well established norms. The need is to look for a middle path.

First Published: April 8, 2011, 8:57 AM IST
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