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Will 2013 be a landmark year for India's Lokpal Bill?
It appears that the Lokpal bill fine tuned by select committee is is set to be discussed today at Rajya Sabha and will see the light of the day at last as per indication coming from different political quarters. Before coming to present Lokpal bill, let’s discuss very briefly about the history of Lokpal bill.

It was in 1963, when Dr.L.M.Singhvi first coined the term ‘Lokpal.’ During 1960, the then law minister Ashok Kumar Sen first proposed for Constitutional ombudsmen. The first ‘Jan Lokpal bill' was tabled by then law minister Mr. Shanti Bhusan (who later became a member Team Anna, father of Prashant Bhusan, AAP) and passed by 4th Lok Sabha in 1969.

However, this can't go though Rajya Sabha and finally remain in dormant. Subsequently ‘Lokpal bills’ was introduced in Parliament in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2008. Every time it appeared like a routine screaming and the end result going to select committee/standing committee/ dormant section known to everybody. People felt that there can never be a Lokpal.

It was Anna’s movement, which brought Lokpal once again in the lime light. Anna and the then team Anna did an exemplary work, which forced the ruling class to take cognizance of public demand and finally revived in 2011. Though Team Anna’s janlokpal draft was not entirely followed, however a revised Lokpal bill was passed in Loksabha on 27th December 2011. The bill was likely to fall in Rajya Sabha as Congress had no majority and opposition as well as the allied wanted a lot of amendments. Then the bill was sent to select committee.

However, after Congress' rout in 2013 assembly election, Congress realized the power of the people and with Anna’s fast, it suddenly changed gears to pass the bill. In the select committee, there were substantial changes to which even opposition parties like BJP agreed to pass without discussion. Even SP, which earlier threatened to oppose the bill is now relenting. Thus one can hope that 2013 can be a land mark year for India’s Lokpal bill, after a long 53 years of its conception.

Well, the government Lokpal bill is exactly not the Jan-Lokpal drafted by team Anna. In democracy ‘My way or Highway’ approach is not acceptable. Thus Anna too agreed to this Lokpal. Eminent personalities like Ex-Justice Santosh Hegde and Kiran Bedi too endorsed it. There is an atmosphere of unanimity. Whatever the point, weaker or stronger, let the bill be passed and let there be a Lokpal.

If something appeared wrong or weak, it would be easier to correct/strengthen later on, as the performance of Lokpal will be continuously scrutinized by India’s media and the asserting public. Also once the Lokpal bill is established, there is a Supreme Court route to bring in necessary amendments for public interest.

Well, there would be credit taking competition between political parties, which has already started. I think we need to ignore such competition. Frankly the real credit goes to Anna and his team, which also includes team Kejriwal.

Arvind Kejriwal at his own right may be refusing the present version of the government Lokpal. At the same time, Kejriwal must remember that many eminent personalities like Aruna Roy and others too opined that ‘Jan Lokpal bill’ drafted by them appear to be draconian. According to them, very strong Lokpal bill might turn in to a monster, which would stop people at power to take even honest decisions.

At least with this, 53 years wait since its conceptualization would end. Let the year 2013 mark the end of waiting of era more than a half century years.

The statement that a rat can’t be jailed as per this bill by Kejriwal appears to be bit exaggerated. He must remember that with emerging of a strong media and asserting of public about their right, India is changing.

In this information technological era, now it’s difficult to manipulate things. Gradually the scenario will improve for better. Who had thought that Lalu Yadav could be convicted, the anti-criminal ordinance would be withdrawn, Nirbhaya’s case would be taken seriously and finally AAP can win so many seats in Delhi defeating Congress at its own den?

Things are changing at a rapid pace. Thus Kejriwal, who deserves a lot of credit for these changes, should also change accordingly. Now it is time to connect with good things. Let him also form the government in Delhi. I promise people will see him as the flag bearer of transformation in Indian polity.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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