The botched up dialogues between the Joint Draft Committee members on the Lokpal Bill has dashed the hopes of people. With the Civil Society and the Union Government members of the Joint Draft Committee coming apart, it is likely that the meetings on June 20-21 will hardly yield any positive results. Civil Society member Arvind Kejriwal has alleged the government is turning its deaf ear to the pleas, whereas Kapil Sibal has set a deadline of June 30 for both the groups to submit their drafts with the Cabinet. Despite the growing chasm, both the groups should try to reach a consensus, as it is for the first time in Indian democracy that the Government and the Civil Society have joined hands to form a draft. In order to boost the dignity of Indian democracy, it is mandatory to reach conclusion on the Lokpal. For this, it is imperative that both the groups set aside their ego and display a more flexible attitude. The differences between the Joint Draft Committee members are evident now. While the Civil Society members are inclined towards the inclusion of Prime Minister and Chief Justices in the Ombudsman’s ambit, the government has stern objections for bringing Prime Minister, Chief Justices, parliamentarians and senior bureaucrats under the jurisdiction of Lokpal. In order to arrive on a consensus, it is extremely important that the Civil Society members should adopt a flexible approach on the inclusion of Prime Minister and Chief Justices under the Lokpal’s ambit, simultaneously the government should soften its stand to keep parliamentarians and senior administrative officials away from the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.

In democracy, no one has unblemished image. The Indian Constitution spares only the President from any form of investigation. Prime Minister and Chief Justice can be kept out of the Lokpal’s ambit because an investigation or vigilance against them can tarnish their dignity. In addition, concocted allegations can hamstring them in executing their duties and certain issues which need to be confidential in the interest of the nation will become public. A compromise is possible only on these two posts but with certain terms and conditions. If the Government representatives remain adamant on their stand to keep parliamentarians and senior bureaucrats away from the Lokpal’s ambit, it will clearly reflect that the Centre wants to build a feeble Ombudsman. If parliamentarians and senior bureaucrats are spared of Lokpal’s jurisdiction, legislators and administrative officials of the state level too would be kept out of the ambit of Ombudsman appointed by the states. It seems that either the Centre has assumed that people holding key posts do have flawless image or it wants to prove its supremacy by teaching a lesson to the Civil Society members. If it is not the case, why is the Union Government not willing for a compromise on the issue? The Centre must know that if it fails to live up to the public expectations of building a powerful and effective Lokpal, the message will be served that all the claims to checkmate the rampant corruption are baseless.