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Aruna Roy attacks Lokpal Bill for lack of appropriateness

Aruna Roy-led NCPRI today attacked the Lokpal Bill for its "lack of appropriateness", saying it does not provide for adequate independence for the ombudsman or power to investigate cases.

In its critique of the Bill, the National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI) said the appropriateness of 'The Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011' could well be determined by asking questions like whether the Lokpal is adequately independent, whether it is empowered to detect and investigate and prosecute corruption cases. 

It alleged that the selection committee for Lokpal and Lokayukta is "biased" in favour of the ruling party and demanded that investigative wing of the state police be put under Lokayuktas administrative and functional control so that it has an independent probe agency. The NCPRI also asked whether the proposed Lokpal has adequate jurisdiction so that no category of public servant is exempt from effective scrutiny and adequately accountable to the people of India. 

"While welcoming the current Bill, as introduced in Parliament, and appreciating many of its progressive sections, the NCPRI believes that the Bill in its present form does not pass the above mentioned test," the NCPRI said in a statement. The NCPRI alleged that the Bill envisages a selection committee for the ombudsman that is "biased" in favour of the ruling party, with three of the five members either being from, or nominees of, the government and the ruling party. 

"This militates against appointment of independent authorities. The selection committee should not have a preponderance of government nominees," it said. The NCPRI said the investigation of cases against central government employees are envisaged to be undertaken by CBI which will "not be independent" of the government.

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