Sibal defends his remarks on Lokpal bill

Kapil Sibal has denied that his comments — that the Lokpal bill won’t address issues close to people’s hearts — was disrespectful of the bill he is supposed to help frame.

Speaking to reporters in Delhi today, he said Lokpal bill will only address the issue of corruption, but the biggest problems facing people in India were others like lack of educational opportunities.

He was also sarcastic about Arvind Kejriwal, the Magsaysay award winning Information activist who spear-headed Anna Hazare’s campaign. When pointed out that Kejriwal had called his remark ‘irresponsible,’ Sibal said, “I think he’s very responsible.”

He said the government was in a mood to collaborate with Civil Society and did not intend to block the framing of the bill. He, however, reiterated that Lokpal bill will not address the ‘core issues’ of the people, but denied he said Lokpal will be totally useless.

“I have said nothing of the sort. I have said the scope of the Lokpal bill is different, people’s problems are different. If you want to give your children an education, it has no relationship with [the scope of] the Lokpal bill. If you don’t get water, it has nothing to do with [the scope of] the Lokpal bill,” he clarified.

On the demand by Civil Society members that the negotiations and talks for framing the act be videographed and made public, Sibal said the Committee as a whole will have to approve of the suggestion.

“The agreement [with Civil Society members] is that all the procedures will be decided by the Committee itself. If you look at the [Gazette] notification, it says all the modalities and procedures will be evolved by the Committee itself,” he said.

Sibal’s remarks have already caused Anna Hazare to urge “those who did not believe in the bill” to back out of the framing process.