Saturday, April 9, 2011

Is Joint Drafting Committee For Lokpal Bill Suffering From Nepotism?

Recently, ministry of law and justice issued the official gazette notification constituting the joint drafting committee to prepare draft of the Lokpal Bill. This is a good step in the right direction. However, voices of dissent have already surfaced pertaining to the “constitution” of the Committee.

These concerns are genuine as well. From the constitution of the committee, it seems to be a matter between Indian government and few social activists alone. It is not at all generating confidence among the masses that they are represented in true sense.

For instance, the names of both father and son Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan as part of the committee are not in good taste. It shows how closely guarded this Committee is. In fact, it seems to be a classical case of nepotism where few individuals are not allowing others to give a wider representation and views.

This constitution of the Joint Drafting Committee is a good step in the right direction, says Praveen Dalal, a Supreme Court Lawyer and managing member of India’s first RTI Helpdesk. Although the Committee has initially taken ten Members yet other Members can be, and would be, Co-Opted by the Committee in due course of time, informs Dalal.

The best part of this Notification is that it is flexible as it allows the Committee to follow its “Own Procedure”. Thus, expert opinion of others can also be taken and they can be a part of the same as the “Invitee Members” of the Committee, informs Dalal.

If other experts and representatives are also inducted while drafting the Lokpal Bill, the Committee may still be legitimate. If not, this Committee is a classical example of nepotism that is flourishing in India. What would be the fate of the Lokpal Bill is also not difficult to visualise and predict.