‘Uttarakhand Bill baseline for Centre’s Lokpal’

A day after Uttarakhand Assembly passed a bill to set up a strong Lokayukta in the state, Team Anna again took pot shots at the Centre saying the UPA government should learn from the BJP-ruled state.

Last Updated: Nov 02, 2011, 20:20 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Ghaziabad: A day after Uttarakhand Assembly passed a bill to set up a strong Lokayukta in the state, Team Anna again took pot shots at the Centre saying the UPA government should learn from the BJP-ruled state.

Addressing a press conference, Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal said the Central government’s Lokpal Bill should match up to Uttarakhand’s Lokayukta Bill.

Kejriwal said they are now waiting to see whether the Centre will "supersede" it by enacting a "weak" law, and added the Lokayukta Bill will now form the baseline for Centre`s Lokpal Bill.

"When the Centre passes the Lokpal bill, it will have provisions to constitute Lokayukta in states. So, if it passes a law weaker than that of Uttarakhand`s Bill, then that will supercede the state law.

"We have to see whether the Centre weakens the Uttarakhand law or it strengthens it. The central government should now at least approve the bill passed by the state," Kejriwal told reporters.

He said the Centre will have to do at least what the Uttarakhand government has done. "If the Centre weakens the bill passed by Uttarakhand, then they must know that people will not tolerate such a government," he said.

The bill passed by the Uttarakhand Assembly on Tuesday brings in Lokayukta’s net the post of the Chief Minister, ministers, MLAs and government servants including IAS and IPS officers with a provision of life imprisonment or more severe punishment.

Kejriwal lauded the BC Khanduri government for bringing in a “strong” Lokayukta.

He rued that the Centre has failed to pass a Lokpal Bill even nine months after Team Anna started their campaign and first met them, while the Uttarakhand government has completed the process in just three months after parleys started with Team Anna.

Kejriwal also thanked Congress legislators of Uttarakhand for the Lokayukta Bill which was passed unanimously.

Shanti Bhushan said the Centre is now left with no excuse to not pass the Lokpal Bill.

His son Prashant said the Bill passed by Uttarakhand was cent percent Jan Lokpal Bill drafted by Team Anna.

In its reaction to the Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill, the Congress was divided. While Law Minister Salman Khurshid hailed the move, party’s general secretary Digvijay Singh said it was "nothing great".

"It is good they have made a Lokayukta. That is what we were saying, every state should pass its own Lokayukta Bill and the Centre should pass the Lokpal Bill," Khurshid said.