The Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association upholds the anti-corruption struggle and the demand for an effective Lokpal Bill. We urge the Government of India to undertake urgent steps to ensure that the demand for a powerful institution of the Lokpal is met and put in place. Any dragging of feat on this will only serve to embolden the corrupt and the unscrupulous occupying high offices.
However, we would also like to caution the people of India against communal, casteist and divisive forces that are trying to hijack the movement to further their ulterior motives. We hope that the organisers and architects of ‘India Against Corruption’ will ensure that the concerns of the minorities, dalits and other excluded sections of the population are taken into consideration in the slogans, symbols and principles that the movement leaders adhere to.
We also hope that the view points of all social groups, political formations, civil society organisations will be taken into account before the Bill is taken up for debate in the Parliament.
As concerned citizens of the country we would like the following broad points to be given consideration:
a. The Lokpal has to be effective in the sense that it enjoys administrative, financial and functional autonomy from the government or any other agency. This should be reflected in its selection process as much as its powers and influences. The government should however provide it with all the required resources without any conditionalities attached.
b. The Lokpal should be such that basic principles of Constitutional Democracy are not undermined. In that sense, the separation of powers between the judiciary, executive and legislative needs to be upheld. Similarly, the federal structure of the union should not be undermined.
c. The members of the Lokpal are made accountable to the people of India so that a bureaucratic state model is averted.
d. To ensure inclusiveness, the bench of the Lokpal as well as the selection and search committees to appoint members should have adequate representation from the dalit-bahujan and minority communities.
e. The Lokpal should also look into the corrupt practice prevailing outside the government such as media, corporations and funded civil society organisations.
f. The scope of corruption should be broadened. For example, as teachers we feel that the scope of corruption should not be limited to graft but should be broadened to include nepotism and various kinds of favours sought in recruitments, grant of leaves, examination of answer sheets etc.