Affirming government’s commitment to enact Lokpal Act that will provide for a strong and effective way to tackle corruption in high places,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said such an institution will have to work within the framework of Constitution.
He told the all-party meeting on Lokpal Bill that strong laws to tackle corruption were a necessary but these would not suffice as there was a need to focus on “simplifying procedures,reducing discretion,eliminating arbitrariness and increasing transparency in the way government functions.”
Singh noted that there was a feeling that institutional arrangements in place are not strong enough to ensure that the guilty,especially those occupying high positions,are brought to book swiftly and given deterrent punishment.
“I must make it clear at the outset that we,in government,are committed to the enactment of a Lokpal Act,which provides for a strong,effective and quick institutional arrangement for tackling corruption in high places,” he said in his opening remarks at the meeting.
“We are also committed to bringing the bill before Parliament in the coming Monsoon Session,” he said.
Apparently acknowledging concerns over certain demands by the civil society which are considered to be creating a “parallel structure”,Singh emphasised that “the institution of the Lokpal has to work in harmony with other institutions and laws and it has to function within the framework of the basic structure of our Constitution.”
He said the Lokpal will have “to add to and not detract from the legitimate role and authority of other institutions in our democratic structure.”
Underlining that the Constitution provides for an “intricate system of checks and balances”,he said the new institution of Lokpal has to find an appropriate place in that matrix.”