New Delhi : In a strong speech pitching for the Lokpal bill, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday said a final decision on the legislation must rest with parliament and stressed that the CBI should be independent of Lokpal.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha during the debate on the bill tabled last week, the prime minister said the bill “lives up to the promise that members of this house collectively made to the people of the country by the way of ‘sense of house'”.
He also said that it is wrong to dub all bureaucracy and politicians as “corrupt” or “dishonest.”
“It (passage of the bill) is a serious business and must eventually be performed by all of us who have been constitutionally assigned. Others can persuade and their voices heard, but the decision must rest with us,” Singh said referring to Anna Hazare, who is fasting in Mumbai for a strong Lokpal.
Hazare is fasting for three days while parliament is debating the Lokpal bill Dec 27-29.
On the CBI, the prime minister said: “I believe that the CBI should function independently of the Lokpal. I also believe that the CBI should function independently of the government. But independent does not mean absence of accountability.”
“We have, therefore, proposed a framework for the appointment of CBI director which involves the prime minister, the chief justice of India or his nominee, and the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and no one should have doubt about the integrity of this process,” he added.
He said as far as the issue of the CBI functioning under Lokpal is concerned, the government believes this could create an executive structure outside parliament, which is accountable to none.
Singh remarked that bureaucracy has been “at the receiving end” and all bureaucrats and politicians should not be perceived as corrupt.
“In the course of this debate, bureaucracy has been at the receiving end. I don’t think that all public functionaries need to be painted with the same brush just as all politicians should not be presumed to be dishonest or corrupt,” he said, receiving thunderous response from MPs.
“There are some very special moments in the life of the nation. This is one of them that how collective wisdom of this august house will be reflected in the debate on Lokpal and Lakayuktas,” he added.
“The broad provisions of the bill have been debated both in public domain and by political parties. It is my honest belief that the bill which is now before the house lives up to the promise that members of this house collectively made to the people of the country by the way of ‘sense of house’,” the prime minister added.