New Delhi: Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president Ram Vilas Paswan plans to take the corruption debate to a whole new level, seeking "reservation for minorities" in the draft Lokpal bill his party will submit before the parliamentary standing committee on law and justice soon.
LJP general secretary Abdul Khaliq told IANS: "Our draft Lokpal bill seeks to elaborate the definition of corruption in order to protect the interests of the SC, ST, OBCs (Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes) besides women and children."
"We will also demand reservation for the minorities in the administrative structure of the Lokpal office," he said, adding that the party would submit its draft bill to the standing commmittee this week.
The standing committee, headed by Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi, has invited public opinion on the government Lokpal bill till Sep 3.
The panel will also examine the Jan Lokpal Bill, drafted by Team Anna, the draft bill submitted by social activist Aruna Roy and the document given by Jayaprakash Narayan of the NGO Loksatta.
The committee is expected to submit its recommendations to parliament before the winter session, slated to start mid-November.
Explaining their point of view, LJP leaders said dereservation of the reserved posts, seats in institutions of higher learning and selection of teachers or their postings besides faulty implementation of the public distribution system should also be covered under the definition of "corruption".
"We aim to protect the interests of the weaker sections through our draft," said Khaliq.
Choosing to stay away from the debate whether the Lokpal should be a statutory of a constitutional body, LJP leaders said all they want is "the office of the Lokpal should enjoy sufficient autonomy" and have "reservation for the minorities".
Citing examples, LJP leaders said the initial search committee to shortlist suitable candidates for the proposed nine-member Lokpal office and the different departments under it like administration, trial and investigation wings "must reserve posts for the minorities".
The focus of the Lokpal debate has shifted to the standing committee on law and justice after the parliament passed a unanimous resolution on the three key demands made by activist Anna Hazare Aug 27. These include a citizen`s charter, bringing lower bureaucracy under Lokpal and setting up Lokayuktas in states.
The committee will also examine the views submitted to it by ordinary citizens and NGOs.