Rejecting the Citizens’ Charter Bill tabled by the government in Parliament on Tuesday, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare criticised the Manmohan Singh government for introducing a “misleading Grievance Redressal Bill”.
He also reiterated his plans to proceed with a three-day fast in Mumbai from December 27.
The government on Tuesday tabled the Citizen’s Charter Bill, also known as the Grievance Redressal Bill, which spells out the responsibilities of government departments towards citizens, their right to delivery of goods and services, and redressal of their grievances in a time-bound manner.
Speaking to journalists along with core team member, Arvind Kejriwal, at his village on Tuesday, Hazare said, “The basic structure of the draft introduced in Parliament is both misleading and unrealistic. It shows the government is not serious about fighting graft.”
Hazare said that after three days of fasting, he would call for three more days of “jail bharo andolan” across the country.
He said that under the government’s bill, a common citizen would have to run from pillar to post to get his grievances redressed. “The Jan Lokpal bill
submitted by us has meticulous and realistic provisions for timely grievance redressal, which the government has chosen to
overlook,” he said.
A visibly irate Hazare accused the central government of going back on its promise of introducing a Citizens’ Charter bill as per the “sense of the house” resolution passed by Parliament in August.
“The government accuses us of insulting Parliament, but they themselves are to be blamed for this,” he said.
The eminent social activist reiterated his plans to tour the five states where legislative elections are scheduled for early next year and campaign against the Congress.
“After the passage of a strong Lokayukta law by the Uttarakhand government, many state governments had asked for direction from the central government to enact similar legislation. However, the central government has remained silent on that, which proves that they are not sincere in fighting corruption,” he said.
A belligerent Hazare said the public would teach the government a fitting lesson for its “betrayal”.
Former top cop Kiran Bedi, another key member of Team Anna, lambasted the government. “Have you ever heard of an investigating body that has no investigation powers?” she asked. “It is better not to have such a Lokpal as it will destroy whatever is left of the CBI. Are we dumb citizens who can be given anything?”
NCPRI happy with the Grievance Redressal Bill
Although Team Anna expressed disappointment over the Grievance Redressal Bill introduced in Parliament on Tuesday, Venkatesh Nayak of the Aruna Roy-led National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), cautiously welcomed it.
“Although we have our reservations about 16 points in the Bill, on the whole the draft is a welcome move by the government,” he told DNA. The issue of a separate redressal bill had sown the seed of discord between one-time friends Kejriwal and Aruna Roy, with both accusing the other of high-handedness in the matter.
Asked if the NCPRI would take part in the 3-day fast and further agitation announced by Hazare from December 27, Nayak said, “The future course of action of the NCPRI would be decided once the government introduces the Lokpal Bill in Parliament.”