Lokpal panel audio recordings to be made public

The move is a reversal of the government`s earlier stand of not putting the deliberations of the Committee in the public domain.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The government on Sunday agreed to make public the audio recordings of proceedings of the Joint Drafting Committee on Lokpal, a Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed.

The move is a reversal of the government`s earlier stand of not putting the deliberations of the committee in the public domain.

In response to a RTI query by activist SC Agrawal, Amarjit Singh, under secretary in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said, "The audio recordings of the meetings of the joint drafting committee for drafting the Lokpal bill have now become available with the undersigned. There are nine CDs and you may deposit copying fee of Rs.450 so that copies of the CDs can be supplied to you".
The DoPT asked Agrawal to deposit Rs 450 as additional fee for providing the audio recordings of the deliberations.

It may be recalled that, in Agrawal’ earlier query, DoPT had said that it required the law ministry`s node to make public audio recordings of the meetings between the government and the Anna Hazare team.

"I welcome the decision," Agrawal said in a response to the devlopement. He said it is a beginning for total transparency.
"Truth will be public on what Union ministers were saying and what civil society members were saying," the RTI activist added.

The Joint Drafting Committee, comprising five members of Team Anna and an equal number of Cabinet ministers, was formed to finalise the draft of the Lokpal Bill.

Reacting to the devolvement, Kiran Bedi, a prominent member of Team Anna wanted the Government to make available the transcript of the proceedings and actually publish it on its website.
"It will be good to have the script...We will exactly know what was said and done," she said.

However, former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde, another Team Anna member appeared to be sceptical about the government move, expressing fears that the CDs could be "edited".

"My only problem is if they edit and do it in a manner which is not in the larger interests of conversation between the two groups then that will create some controversy," he said.

With PTI inputs

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