First they demanded separate standards to judge them when they were themselves accused of corruption charges. Now the civil society members of Anna’s panel to draft the Anti-Corruption Lokpal bill are making a joke out of themselves with the way they are agreeing to make changes in their own proposed bill. The roundtable held yesterday in
– in which the two Bhushans, Arvind Kejriwal and Justice Hegde participated – brought this out very clearly. Delhi
From newspaper reports, what comes out is that the roundtable concluded that:
1) The selection method suggested in the Jan Lokpal Bill by Anna was wrong. What is now proposed is that there will be a “search” committee and then another “selection” committee. The search committee’s job would be to shortlist candidates....and it is still not clear who would be members of the search committee. Maybe the issue was too controversial to discuss in a public forum! Maybe the googly will come in later.....maybe people like the Bhushan’s and others (the self declared non-corrupt people! Evidence notwithstanding!) would be part of the search committee. The selection committee would then choose the Lokpal from amongst the shortlisted candidates. The selection committee itself will be headed by the PM (Hahahahaha....isn’t this quite a turnaround!), the two presiding officers of the two houses (politicians.....Hahahaha!), the leaders of opposition of the two houses (hahahaha!), two judges of the SC (not clear whether they should be “seniormost” or “juniormost”....hahahaha!) and finally two “eminent” citizens of the country (presumably the Bhushan variety! This is too funny!). What a volte-face! Hallelujah! Wisdom dawns on the civil society activists! Apparently, the selection committee will work on “unanimous” basis; what civil society still doesn’t understand is that there is no concept of unanimity in the working of any committee..... The Supreme Court has already ruled that if unanimity cannot be achieved (as in the selection of the CVC), then majority view should continue! So effectively, the political class will choose the Lokpal!
2) The higher judiciary will be kept out of the purview of the Lokpal. Hahahahahaha! This is too funny really. So is it that the higher judiciary’s support is being sought by acquiescing to their unspoken demand?! Or is it that this roundtable had two ex-SC judges Justice Verma and Justice MN Vekatachaliah and no one could argue with them?! Maybe in the next roundtable when a few politicians are brought in, the politicians also will be exempted!
3) The PM himself/herself will be excluded from the ambit of the Lokpal. Hahahahahaha! Now this one robs the civil society activists of all moral authority they acquired during Anna’s fast. And this comes after the PM has been pushing for his office and he himself being brought under the purview of the Lokpal! So what’s changed? Apparently the civil society members now feel that “the PM is the country’s face in the international arena”! Maybe Obama and Sarkozy just gave Arvind Kejriwal a phone call to point this out! The other reason is “for political stability”...... maybe LK Advani and Arun Jaitley gave Kejriwal and co. a phone call! Maybe the RSS did it on the BJP’s behalf?!
4) Lokpal should only handle “sensitive cases” involving huge bribes and affecting the prestige of the country. Hahahahaha! So all the arguments I made that there was nothing wrong with the existing judicial set-up except maybe the workload has been amplified by a few others and now understood by the civil society activists! Why the existing judiciary cannot be the judicial authority in the proposed Lokpal Bill has never been clear to me. I guess they will agree to that also in the days to come!
5) And lastly, and this is probably the pièce de résistance in the entire discussion of yesterday. The CBI should not be brought under the Lokpal! (I am now breaking into a delirium.....please pardon me, I cannot even laugh!).
So effectively, what the civil society activists are agreeing to now is that the judiciary should be kept out and the investigating body should be kept out. The selection of the Lokpal should lie vastly with the political class. The PM should be kept out. What a turn-around! Very soon, the other provisions will also be diluted........suo-motu powers to initiate action and seeking permission from the political class before pursuing a corruption charge! Makes me wonder what it is that they have really started all this agitation about? Why couldn’t they just have focused on implementing the current laws better? Why couldn’t they just have demanded certain amendments to the current laws? Is there more fame in being called the Father of a new law than just being the one who got a few amendments made? Or is this all very different from Anna himself wanted and wants?
And that’s the really strange part. The man who started it all.....who probably understands now that he is indeed surrounded by nothing but a bunch of fame-seeking, probably-equally-corrupt, and maybe just-plain-incompetent people.....is keeping quiet. Anna must realize that his group of friends is making a mockery out of the movement that he started. Even earlier, it was Sonia Gandhi, the PM and Pranab Mukherjee who came to Anna’s rescue by saying that there would be no change in the civil society members on the panel. If they had not done so, then the panel would have dissipated by now.
The real truth is that this Lokpal panel is not going anywhere. It’s made up of a bunch of jokers and they are making this entire struggle of Anna go down the drain. Don’t blame the politicians for this. Blame the activists themselves. The real truth, unfortunately, also is that Anna is simply not strong enough a leader. At this time, he should be preaching his members to lead by example and make sacrifices. Not cling to power and fame. He should have sacked the Bhushans. Rather, he is choosing to stay mum. He apparently made a statement that he did not know the Bhushans very well. Then why have them around? Anna needs to rise.......much above his present operating level.