Doubt UPA's Intention to Frame Strong Lokpal Bill: CPI(M)

Taking exception to UPA government's decision to ignore two key recommendations by a Parliamentary committee in the draft Lokpal bill that was approved by the cabinet yesterday, CPI(M) today questioned the latter's intention to frame a stringent legislation to curb corruption in the country.

"We seriously doubt the Congress and the UPA government's intention to frame a tough Lokpal bill to sternly deal with corruption due the manner in which it has given a go by to two key recommendations by a Parliamentary select committee in the draft approved by the cabinet," CPI(M) Politburo member and former MP Brinda Karat told reporters.

The government neither wants to give autonomy to the Lokpal nor does it want to let go its control over CBI, she said and wondered how the anti-corruption watchdog would discharge its duty without freedom.

CPI-M will take a stand of the Lokpal bill only when it comes before Parliament, Karat said.

The CPI(M) leader also criticised the UPA government for not taking cognizance of her party's demand to bring PPP projects under the ambit of the Lokpal in view of the use of national resources in such projects.

On the demand for reduction of the age of juveniles from 18 years to 16 years for trial in cases of rape and other heinous crimes, Karat said she had a contrarian view and would like the present age limit for treating a youth as juvenile to stay.

"The age limit of upto 18 years has been fixed with a view to reform youths who take to crimes after losing their way in their lives for different reasons," she said.

Instead of reducing the juvenile age it would be better if the young perpetrators of crimes like rape could be handed out stringent punishment, the CPI(M) leader said and supported Justice (Rtd) J.S. Verma committee report that has suggested strengthening legislative and administrative structures to bring them to justice.

"Both the central and state governments should take into account this report and strengthen legislative and adminstrative apparatus for rendering expeditious justice in cases of rape and other heinous crimes," she said.

On the controversy surrounding the film 'Vishwaroopam', Karat said as far as she was concerned the film should not have been banned for screening in any state after the censor board certified it.

She, however, refused to offer any comment on Tamil Nadu government's decision to ban the screening of the film on grounds of law and order.

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