Tuesday, August 30, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Team Hazare insists on quota, phone tap powers



Team Hazare insists on quota, phone tap powers
Himanshi Dhawan, TNN | Aug 30, 2011, 04.27AM IST

NEW DELHI: Contrary to the expectations of their supporters among the
political class, the Anna Hazare campaign has decided not to drop
their insistence that the proposed Lokpal be armed with powers to tap

While the BJP has argued with Hazare's representatives against tapping
powers for the Lokpal, the pitch has failed to wash with the
activists. "We think that an independent bench of the Lokpal will be
better placed to take a decision on phone tapping. We will definitely
not consider excluding this section," said Prashant Bhushan.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Saturday, leader of opposition Arun
Jaitley had argued against equipping the Lokpal with the authority to
place tabs on phones.

Section 29(12) the Jan Lokpal Bill says, "The appropriate bench of the
Lokpal shall be deemed to be the designated authority under section 5
of the Indian Telegraph Act empowered to approve interception and
monitoring of messages or data or voice transmitted through
telephones, internet or any other medium as covered under the Indian
Telegraph Act read with Information and Technology Act 2000 and as per
rules and regulations made under the Indian Telegraph Act 1885."

The dispute over tapping powers for Lokpal apart, the activists also
seem to be heading for a confrontation with sections of the political
class over the latter's demand for quota for SC/STs, minorities, OBCs
and women in the Lokpal panel.

Team Anna is unlikely to support the demand for quota for SC/ST,
minorities and women in the Lokpal panel despite a strong demand from
dalit leaders and representatives of regional parties. The quota call
found a strong expression on Monday when P L Punia, chairman of the
National Commission for Scheduled Castes, demanded quota for dalits,
tribals, minorities, OBCs as well as women in the search and selection
committees for Lokpal as well as the final panel they constitute.

Sources in the Hazare group ruled out any re-think on the issue of
introducing quotas in the panel, although they said there would be
reservations in recruitment for the investigating agency that will be
created under the Lokpal. "There can be no possibility of quota within
the Lokpal panel but recruitment for officials in the investigation
wing could be done on the lines of government recruitment," the source

Leaders of BSP, LJP and RJD were vocal in their demand for
"representation" of SC/STs, OBCs and minorities in the proposed Lokpal
during the all-party meeting convened by PM Manmohan Singh earlier
this month. These parties are also represented on Parliament's
standing committee that has to prepare the final draft of the Lokpal

All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations has also demanded the
inclusion of dalits and minorities in the watchdog. The confederation,
which will be meeting the PM later this week to press for its demand,
has drafted a Bahujan Lokpal Bill that advocates representation of the
backward communities in the Lokpal Bill.

In his speech in the Lok Sabha, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav forcefully
advocated the need for representation of various communities. "This
House is the mirror of society. Parliament and the state assemblies
are sole places which reflect the true character of the country. This
is not the case anywhere else," he said.

He named and gestured towards the MPs of backward and tribal
communities in the Lok Sabha during his speech to highlight the
virtues and importance of proper representation of various

Yadav was learnt to have supported the demands for representation of
various sections of people in the proposed Lokpal during the all-party
meeting too.

SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav echoed similar sentiments in Lok Sabha
and also during the all-party meet. "I had said it earlier, and
repeating again... Lokpal Bill should provide for representation of
dalits, backward classes, minorities along with other sections. That
Lokpal will be considered an appropriate one," he said in the Lok
Sabha while participating in the discussion on the issue of

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