It is becoming increasingly clear that a section of the government will leave no stone unturned to abort the anti-corruption 'Lokpal' legislation, even while paying lip service to a move that has widespread public support.
On a day when social activist Anna Hazare – spearheading the movement for an ombudsman to hold the government accountable - wrote to Congress president Sonia Gandhi saying members of her party were trying to derail the Lokpal Bill, a group of advocates today moved the Supreme Court challenging the inclusion of five non-government members in the committee to draft the bill.
Advocate M L Sharma and others have contended before the apex court that the inclusion of the civil society members in the committee, which also has five ministers, is constitutionally flawed, as a parliamentary committee must comprise only members of parliament and no one else.
It also questioned the inclusion of lawyers Prashant and Shanti Bhushan – the father and son duo – among the non-government members. The two have been 'tainted' by anonymous audio discs circulated to the media which seem to show them willing to bribe a judge. The Bhushans say the CDs are doctored, and are also planning to move the Supreme Court in the matter.
Meanwhile Hazare, in his letter to Gandhi, has specifically pointed at top Congress leaders Digvijaya Singh and Kapil Sibal, and suggested that the party president advice them "not to derail the process of drafting a Jan Lokpal Bill to address the issue of corruption".
Hazare also defended the Bhushans, saying the supposed conversation between them and Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh (the latter is now estranged from his former leader) in the "fabricated CD" is an attempt to tarnish reputations and divert attention.