Civil society members demand strong Lokpal Bill
Supporting the demand for a strong Lokpal Bill, civil society members on Monday said there was need for other Bills like the Whistleblower protection bill to fight corruption and ensure a transparent and accountable government.
New Delhi: Supporting the demand for a strong Lokpal Bill, civil society members on Monday said there was need for other Bills like the Whistleblower protection bill to fight corruption and ensure a transparent and accountable government.
"We support the demand for a strong Lokpal law. However, it was extremely important to recognise that this was not enough.
For the ordinary Indian citizen in many ways the Grievance Redress law and the Whistleblower Protection law were as important as the Lokpal," a joint statement by the group said.
The group include Justice PB Sawant, Justice Rajinder Sachar, Justice Mukul Mudgal, Justice Prabha Sridevan, Romila Thapar, Kuldip Nayar, Baba Adhav, Vinod Mehta, Aruna Roy among others.
They said the measures include a strong Lokpal law, Grievance Redress law, Whistleblower Protection law and measures for judicial accountability.
"All three laws offer separate remedies and taken together constitute an accountability regime," they said.
Grievance Redress law would enforce accountability on the bureaucratic system, as ordinary citizens have a number of grievances that arise from a denial of access to services, and entitlements under various laws and schemes.
"Petitions and complaints go unanswered. Bribes are demanded for the most ordinary services. Most of these grievances relate to matters as basic as food, water, education, electricity, roads, pensions, medicines and hospitals," the statement said, adding these were not inconsequential, petty complaints.
"The denial of these most basic rights of the citizen undermines their dignity, life and livelihood."
The Grievance Redress law had been cleared by the Cabinet and was currently in Parliament awaiting passage.
The Standing Committee has examined the bill, made some important recommendations and emphasised the urgent need for the Bill to be passed, they said.
The members said that need for Whistleblower Protection law was felt after the murder of Satyendra Dubey in 2003.
"This tragic killing was followed by immediate assurances of passage of a strong Whistleblower Protection law. But 10 years of inordinate delay in passing this law has cost more than forty lives, and thousands of cases of harassment of RTI users. Even officials attempting to expose corrupt practises have had no protection available to them," they said.
The Whistleblower Protection Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha two years ago and has been under consideration in the Rajya Sabha since then, the members said.