BJP against reservation for minorities in Lokpal



New Delhi: Upping the ante on the issue of provision of reservation for minorities in Lokpal, BJP has decided to take on the government on the version of the bill passed in the Lok Sabha last year.

Picking holes in the Lokpal Bill passed in the lower house and pending in the Rajya Sabha, BJP members in the Rajya Sabha Select Committee on Lokpal Bill have written to panel chief Satyavrat Chaturvedi questioning the provision providing reservation to minorities in the measure.

The BJP's move comes just days before the commencement of the Winter session of Parliament on November 22. The Committee is to submit its report to the upper house in the first week of the coming session.

Contending that religion-based reservation is constitutionally invalid, BJP members have said that any reservation outside the constitutional provisions will be ultra vires, it is learnt.

It is understood to have asked whether people who are in a minority in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir will get reservation as per the provisions of the Bill.

The letter also referred to a 2005 Supreme Court judgement saying that the apex court had noted that the State has no religion and no section can claim to be a minority.

It also wondered whether the definition of minorities will also include linguistic minorities.

The bill says that not less than fifty per cent of the Members of the Lokpal will be from among Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, Minorities and women.

BJP has all along opposed reservation for minorities in the Lokpal Bill saying that it violates the Constitution and it will lead to further division.

BJP and some other opposition parties have also demanded that CBI be given greater autonomy by proposing that its funds are sourced directly from the Consolidated Fund of India.

It is learnt that some opposition members demanded that the agency be at least given a free hand in investigating cases even if it is not brought under the control of the anti-corruption ombudsman.

PTI