Lokpal Bill drafting panel to meet on Saturday

The first meeting of the newly-constituted joint committee comprising ministers and civil society activists to draft the Lokpal Bill will be held on Saturday.

Last Updated: Apr 13, 2011, 21:23 PM IST

New Delhi: The first meeting of the
newly-constituted joint committee comprising ministers and
civil society activists to draft the Lokpal Bill will be held
on Saturday.

To be held on April 16, the meeting will be chaired by
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is the chairman of the
committee formed by the government to draft the bill following
an agitation launched by social activist Anna Hazare, sources
in the government said.

Besides Mukherjee, members of the committee are Home
Minister P Chidamabaram, Law Minister Veerappa Moily
(Convenor), HRD Minister Kapil Sibal and Water Resources
Minister Salman Khurshid.

The civil society will be represented by Hazare,
former Supreme Court judge N Santosh Hegde, former Law
Minister Shanti Bhushan (co-chairperson), lawyer Prashant
Bhushan and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal.

Following a 98-hour hunger strike by Hazare, the
government had issued a notification to form the joint
committee to prepare a draft of the Lokpal Bill.

According to the notification, the committee will
evolve its own procedure to prepare the proposed legislation
by June 30.

Government had yesterday said it was "anxious" for an
early passage of the proposed legislation and the Independence
Day deadline set by Hazare to pass the bill could be met only
if "all cooperate".

"It is upto the political parties. If all of them agree
for its introduction and passage, we welcome such a
move...government is anxious for its early passage," Moily had
said.

The civil society led by Hazare had rejected the Lokpal Bill proposed by the government dubbing it as "toothless"
and came out with its own version of Jan Lokpal Bill.

It had demanded that its version of the legislation
should be the basis of a stronger Lokpal Bill to deal with
corruption in high places and cover politicians, civil servants
and judiciary.

PTI