Government must rethink on jurisdiction of Lokpal: Jaitley

New Delhi, Dec.17 : Asserting that there is a need for a viable and credible Lokpal Bill, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said the Central Government must rethink on the jurisdiction of the Lokpal.

"We must strive to bring a viable and credible Lokpal Bill. There is scope for improvement in this law," Jaitley told members of the Upper House.

"The political atmosphere is different today. I believe that the government has gained some insight on the matter between December 29, 2011 and today because of the changed political atmosphere. We want to pass the Lokpal Bill. We need to remove all its faults and introduce a bill that is credible and functional," he added.

He further said: "We felt that if the government had the upper hand in appointing the Lokpal, then the office can be misused.

"In the government's bill, the government had the ability to start proceedings against a Lokpal if they wanted to. That has been amended, and now, it's like the impeachment process - MPs were empowered. The jurisdiction of the Lokpal predominantly should be where government revenue is involved," he added.

Initiating the debate on Lokpal, Law and Justice Minister Kapil Sibal had earlier said that this House is confronted with a historic opportunity, either to make history or, to repeat history.

"Never before in the history of this country has such a bill had such a wide discussion," he added.

Veteran social activist Anna Hazare, who has been on a fast since December 10 to press for the passage of the Lokpal Bill, had earlier said he believes the Lokpal Bill approved by the select committee of the Rajya Sabha is good and added that people who are against this bill, should also protest like him.

"All the 16 issues are important. It is true that we have compromised on three issues, but the thirteen other issues are equally important. The bill is for the welfare of the people. I have had a look at the 13 issues, and then, I told the government that the bill that I welcome, they have put forth,"

"I am obliged to the government to put forth the bill in the Rajya Sabha. Now everyone is saying that the first issue they will take up in the Rajya Sabha will be the Lokpal Bill. All the parties have agreed to it. In such a scenario, if a few people make a noise, it does not matter. If some people make noise while passing the bill, let them do it. If they fall short of time, they can extend it. I believe it is a good Lokpal Bill," Anna said.

Over the past year, India has been transfixed by a campaign led by Anna Hazare to force the government to create an ombudsman, which would prosecute corrupt politicians and bureaucrats.

The proposed bill envisages the setting up of a national anti-corruption watchdog to check financial mismanagement and corrupt practices that have deeply pervaded several democratic and civic institutions of India.

--ANI (Posted on 17-12-2013)

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