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PUCL voices concern over Lokpal bill

From The Times of India:

JAIPUR: A day after Parliament accepted in principle the demands of anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare, some voices of dissent over the movement have surfaced.

Leading civil rights organization, Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), has raised apprehensions on the ability of the Lokpal bill to tackle corruption. In a public discussion in Jaipur on Sunday, PUCL activists including its former national head Rajendra Sachar and noted activist Binayak Sen called Jan Lokpal Bill “not enough to fight corruption.”

“We respect public anger against corruption. But this movement needs a proper shape and direction for long sustenance,” said Sen. “This fight is incomplete without us addressing issues relating to poverty and injustice.”


Sachar refused to give full credit to civil society members. He said like lakhs of others, they too are part of this movement. He suggested media to highlight the concerns of other civil society members to make the bill more effective. “During this period, I and many other civil organizations staged rallies and protest, which find no space in media,” said Sachar.
Earlier, National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI) raised its reservations about some clauses in Anna’s bill.

National president of PUCL Prabhakar Singh described it a “directionless agitation”. He raised doubts over this bill bringing a sea change in removing corruption. “Lokpal will handle corruption at higher level. To eradicate corruption at grassroots level, we should welcome diverse opinion on this subject,” added Singh.

Dr V Suresh, national secretary of PUCL raised his concern on the enormous power of Lokpal. “Who is going to oversee Lokpal over Lokpal? The civil society and government should answer this question?” he asked, arguing that putting judiciary under the ambit of Lokpal will have serious consequences.

Concluding the session, PUCL general secretary Kavita Srivastava said the movement has evoked sense of activism among youths. “It’s a time to channelize this energy in raising other issues plaguing our society,” said Srivastava.