Citizens protest against corruption in Mumbai

They plan to create a vote bank after March 31 and intensify movement against the government’s proposed Lokpal bill

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | January 31, 2011



As part of nationwide protests against corruption, ‘India against corruption’ activists and protesters from non-government organisations rallied at Azad Maidan in Mumbai on Sunday on the 63rd death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The activists were demanding that the Lokpal Bill prepared by citizens like Kiran Bedi, justice Santosh Hedge, Prashant Bhushan, J M Lyndgoh and other prominent names be passed. They condemned the toothless Lokpal bill proposed by the government which is against the democratic spirit of the country and only gives advisory powers instead of powers to prosecute to law enforcement agencies. The activists also demanded the merger of all enforcement departments under the Lokpal and independent powers to Lokayukta to investigate.

The Lokayukta should be allowed to investigate the judges without anyone’s permission, the activists have demanded. Currently the chief justice’s permission is required to lodge an FIR against any judge. Besides other demands, the activists want six members from the civil society against four members from the judiciary constituting the Lokpal.

They plan to create a vote bank after March 31 and intensify movement against the government’s proposed Lokpal bill.

Speaking at the gathering, retired IPS officer and Padma Bhushan awardee Julio Ribeiro said the mindset of police and bureaucrats must change as instead of providing service they behave like masters and rulers.

“Last word should be of the Lokayukta who should be empowered to take action independently against people against whom there is evidence. All laws in our country are very good but there is no implementation,” Ribeiro said.

Giving some examples of recent cases of violations and corruption, ex-IPS officer Yogesh Pratap Singh said, “Permissions were obtained after clubbing 12 houses of poor people by Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan to construct his bungalow on land reserved for mass housing under the then prevalent Urban Land Ceiling Act in force.”

“In the Adarsh case, the main players under whom the scam was perpetrated, that is, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushil Kumar Shinde have been let off.”

Speaking on legal hurdles an activist said, “The court only provides relief in small cases but if Mukesh Ambani’s house, Antilla, has been constructed on land reserved for an orphanage, the court will not provide any relief.”

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