Sunday, September 25, 2011

Review: Lokpal


Lokpal: Facts and Arguments
Parsa Venkateshwar Rao
Har Anand
Rs. 295; Pp 134
ISBN : 9788124116524
Hard Back

About the book 
This book traces the developments with regard to the Lokpal legislation in the past and in the present. The debate in the Lok Sabha in August 1969 before the passing of the Lokpal Bill is discussed along with the many texts of the Lokpal bills prepared by the Anna Hazare group and the UPA governments as well as that of the five ministers in the Joint Drafting Committee. The work and observations of the Lokyuktas in the states is discussed. It also looks at the political assumptions that each side brings to the debate in the present, and what it means for the political culture and life of the country.

Full review here DNA
As the idea for writing this book was suggested to the author by the publisher only in the last week of June this year and the book was out on the stands by the end of August, it was clearly written in a hurry. There are, therefore, many printer’s devils, grammatical errors and disjointed sentences which hamper the flow of reading.

Having said that, it’s a timely book on a hotly-debated subject, and clears a lot of misconceptions about both the government and Team Anna’s version of the proposed Lokpal Bill.

One of the commonest fears about team Anna’s Jan Lokpal Bill is that with its sweeping powers, the Lokpal itself could become a monstrous, corrupt genie impossible to tame. Well, the present draft does have a few provisions to prevent this. For one, once a case is closed, all documents related to it will be treated as public, and every month a list of such cases will be put on the website with reasons for closing the case. Further, all the material related to the case will be provided to anyone seeking it under the Right to Information Act. Second, the hearings before the Lokpal will be video recorded and available to anyone who pays for the copying costs.

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