Indian Parliament Failes To Pass Anti-graft Bill
Indian parliament on Friday failed to pass the anti-graft Lokpal bill after three days of debate, placing the Congress party in the position of facing the rage of the civil society, which has been protesting for years against the level of corruption in the most populous democratic country in the world.
An iconic figure of the anti-graft movement is Anna Hazare, companion of modern India’s founder Mahatma Gandhi. Hazare protested the governmental hesitation by entering a fast-to-death period in August. He stopped then after the prime minister of India Manmohan Singh promised that the Lokpal bill would be passes.
At the beginning at this week Hazare resumed the fasting as means of putting pressure on lawmakers to accept the radical version of the bill, drafted by the civil society, which implies the bringing under the purview of the ombudsman of all state dignitaries, including the prime minister.
The final version, that was proposed to the parliament earlier in the week, brings under the jurisdiction of the ombudsman all institution except for the Central Bureau of Investigation, which caused the protesters to resume their claim in the streets of India.
The result of the debate is a failure of the Congress party, a close friend of Hazare’s said, and is sure to present the government backed by the party as a weak one. It also end a year of political bickering that left little time to debate and legislation.
The debate ended on Thursday night, after almost 200 amendments were presented, as it became clear that the government did not have the majority to pass the law. The bill met the opposition of Bharatiya Janata, the opposition party.
In order for it to become a law it has to be approved by both houses of the parliament and then to be signed into law by Pratibha Patil, the President of India.
The idea of creating an ombudsman that would eradicate corruption was in debate in India for the last for decades, but gained traction only last year, when massive demonstrations sparked.11