The Tamil Nadu Government has planned to rush through the Lokpal bill in the State Assembly on Monday, the last day of the session, so as to meet the July 10 deadline fixed by the Supreme Court to file an action taken report on the issue.
Arappor Iyakkam, a non-profit organisation, has called for protest against government move to get the bill passed without a public debate. Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Arappor Iyakam convenor Jayaram Venkatesan said he suspected that the government is planning to introduce the bill with an intention of creating a toothless Lokpal .
The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013, was passed and notified in the gazette in 2014. Section 63 of the Lokayukta Act mandated that every state shall pass it within a year after Lokpal comes to effect.
Tamil Nadu should have enacted the law by January 2015. However, the State Government delayed it on the ground that a case relating to it was pending before the high court. The Supreme Court refused to accept Tamil Nadu’s contention that the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption had enough power to prosecute even the Chief Minister. The apex court directed it to file a report by July 10 on whether it had taken steps to enact the Lokpal law. To avoid strictures by the apex court, the Government has proposed to table the bill in the eleventh hour on July 9.
Venkatesan said that the Supreme Court deadline was only to know what action taken on enacting the Lokpal bill and not a deadline to get the bill passed before that date. The State Government was using it as a pretext to adopt a diluted bill and that was why it had not circulated the draft for public debate, he charged.