Lokpal Bill 2.0?
Image Credit: Dave Scott

Lokpal Bill 2.0?

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Move over Lokpal, Jan Lokpal and Bahujan Lokpal. Coming next is the Muslim Lokpal Bill.

Fifteen prominent intellectuals and jurists from the Muslim community met at the headquarters of the Institute of Objective Studies in New Delhi on September 11 and decided to draft a more comprehensive and accommodative Lokpal that could be christened ‘Jamhuri’ (democratic) Lokpal. This important news story was first broken by theindianawaaz.com, a portal launched in English, Hindi and Urdu in 2009.

‘Many Indian Muslims feel that their views aren’t adequately incorporated under the other versions of Lokpal bills and, most importantly, that the Anna Hazare-led civil society isn’t a truly representative body of the people of India,’ says Andalib Akhtar, editor of theindianawaz.com.

At the meeting, a sub group of five eminent jurists was formed comprising former Chief Justice of India A.M. Ahmadi, Mushtaq Ahmad, advocate, Yusuf Hatim  Muchhala, advocate Bombay High Court, S.M. Kazmi, former chairman of the Minority Commission of UP, and Prof. Faizan Mustafa, Vice Chancellor at the National Law University in Odisha.

The sub-committee will study different versions of the Lokpal bills and come up with a new draft that is envisioned as effective, more practicable and takes on board the concerns of all stakeholders. The Muslim Lokpal Bill, once ready, would be presented to the parliamentary standing committee that’s engaged with the Lokpal issue. The sub-committee will study the various versions of the Lokpal bill and prepare a new draft from the perspective of minorities and other groups. ‘If we feel there’s a need of a separate draft bill from our perspective, we would go for it,’ said a member of the group.

IOS Chairman Mohammad Manzoor Alam said that a comprehensive review should be presented to the standing committee of the Indian parliament with the aim of securing a realistic piece of legislation on an anti-corruption mechanism. Abusaleh Shariff, economist and member secretary of the Sachar Committee, is to provide ‘socio-economic’ input to the Muslim panel on Lokpal. 

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