The National Campaign for Peoples Right to Information (NCPRI) has expressed concern over the delay by government in passing the anti corruption legislations including, Lokpal and Lokayukta bill, the Whistleblowers’ Protection bill, the Grievance Redress bill and the Judicial Accountability bill.
Here is the full statement:
The National Campaign for Peoples Right to Information (NCPRI) has been consistently demanding for the enactment of a basket of anti-corruption and grievance redress legislations to provide a comprehensive legal framework to address issues of corruption and grievance redress in the country. The components of the basket have been the Lokpal and Lokayukta bill, the Whistleblowers’ Protection bill, the Grievance Redress bill and the Judicial Accountability bill.
The NCPRI is distressed to note that while attacks on whistleblowers and RTI users continue unabated across the country, the Whistleblower Protection bill remains stuck in the Rajya Sabha, after having been passed by the Lok Sabha in December 2011. The fact that the bill was not even taken up for discussion in the previous session of the Parliament reflects a tremendous apathy of the Parliament towards those demanding transparency and accountability in governance.
We, therefore, demand that the Whistleblower Protection bill be taken up for discussion and passed in the monsoon session of the Parliament without any undue delay.
The fate of the Grievance Redress bill, which was introduced in the Parliament last year and referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, also hangs in limbo. After more than six months, the grievance redress bill continues to be pending with the standing committee, despite the committee giving an assurance in its report (Section V) on the Lokpal Bill, 2011 that ‘…the Committee strongly recommends the creation of a separate comprehensive enactment on this subject and such a Bill, if moved through the Personnel/Law Ministry and if referred to this Standing Committee, would receive the urgent attention of this Committee..’.
The NCPRI demands that the Standing Committee expedite the process and the bill be afforded immediate priority, given that millions of citizens across the country are being denied their basic rights and entitlements because of the lack of effective grievance redress mechanisms.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011 passed by Lok Sabha is currently being examined by a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha. It is imperative that the select committee address the points of contention in the Lokpal bill in a time bound manner so that a strong and effective legislation which provides for an independent and empowered Lokpal can be passed by the Parliament at the earliest.
The NCPRI demands that the Judicial Accountability and Standards Bill, which is currently in the Rajya Sabha, be passed after being appropriately amended and strengthened.
It is a matter of great concern that the Lokpal and Lokayukta bill, the Whistleblowers’ Protection bill, the Grievance Redress bill and the Judicial Accountability bill, which are key to strengthening transparency, accountability and responsiveness in governance, are being unduly delayed despite the Parliament assuring the country of swift progress on these bills. The delay on these legislations betrays the commitment made to the people of the country.
The NCPRI demands that the four bills be taken up in the forthcoming monsoon session of the Parliament to provide a legal framework to effectively tackle corruption and redress peoples’ grievances.