By giving thumbs up to the Lokpal Bill, the Union Cabinet has reaffirmed the intentions of giving it a shape of a law. Now it is to be viewed whether the Central Government is able to do so or not in the monsoon session of the Parliament. Curtains are yet to be raised over the efficiency of the Union Government to evolve an effective Ombudsman mechanism. Giving birth to such credence comes out of the previous failures to develop an effective Ombudsman mechanism in the past four decades. Arriving on a conclusion after the Cabinet nod to the Lokpal Bill seems irrational as the provisions included in it may by changed during the debate in the Parliament. It comes as no major surprise that the Prime Minister has not been included under Lokpal’s ambit. Behind this move, the Central Government has some substantial and logical reasons which cannot be overlooked. Albeit, despite the valid reasons of the Cabinet it is extremely vital to hold a debate on this issue to clarify the doubt of a common man that whether it is in the interest of the country or not to include Prime Minister under Lokpal jurisdiction. The government has some concrete views behind keeping the Judiciary out of the coverage range of Ombudsman. At a time when a Bill to affix the accountability on Judges is in the process, there is no harm in keeping Judiciary at bay from the purview of Ombudsman. On grounds that the constitutional freedom of parliamentarians would be disrupted, they too have been kept out of Lokpal’s ambit. If indeed so the entire fact related to this issue should be made public because people hold the opinion that parliamentarians have misused the freedom in the past.

The most controversial point incorporated in the Bill is the constraint on the Ombudsman to conduct an inquiry against a former Prime Minister or a person holding a key portfolio in a case only after a hiatus of seven years. What is the logic behind the move? One fails to understand why the Lokayukta mechanism is not being evolved along with the Ombudsman system. After all, the mechanism which is being considered appropriate for the Centre policy is not being introduced in the states. In fact these are among the few of the blistering questions which need to be answered by the Central Government. The Government should be prepared to face the situation along chalking out anti-corruption measures as it becomes essential to undertake stringent measures to fight corruption. The annoyance of Anna Hazare and his team on the government draft of Lokpal Bill is a writing on the wall. The desperation of Team Anna is pertinent because contrary to the expectations the government has opted for slow progress in order to tighten the noose around the high-ranked officials. Undoubtedly, having a cautious approach to find a solution is the right manner to go about things, however the entire exercise would go futile if the progress comes to a standstill. It would be better if the ruling alliance and the other political parties come face to face with the bitter reality that people are deeply anguished by the rampant corruption. The people are not only a witness to a large scale corruption around them, but they also opine, instead taking strict measures against people involved in the malpractice, efforts are being made to safeguard them. 

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