Lokpal panel has `very good` second meeting

The next meetings of the joint committee will be held on May 7, 23 and 30.

New Delhi: The second meeting of the joint committee to draft a stringent Lokpal Bill held here on Monday was "very good" and with "no difference of opinion", Union Minister and committee member Kapil Sibal said.

"The meeting was very good, very cooperative. There was no difference of opinion," Sibal told reporters after the meeting. The panel will meet again on Saturday.

"The talks were very good. The civil society members and we will think about the proposals given by both sides and discuss again in our next meeting to be held on May 7," Sibal, the minister for human resource development, said.

Sibal said the meeting discussed the document presented by civil society members on the objects of the bill.

"The civil society members on the joint drafting committee presented a document with respect to the objects of the bill as well as a document which enunciated the general principles underlying the bill," Sibal said.

"The meeting was extremely conducive to the dialogue that we have decided to initiate. We hope that by June 30 we would have decided on the broad contours and drafted a Lokpal Bill to be introduced in parliament," he added.

The next meetings of the committee will be held on May 7, 23 and 30.

Speaking on the same lines, civil society members said the meeting discussed the basic principles of the act and was "conducive".

"The meeting was mainly to discuss the basic principles behind the Jan Lokpal Bill. The discussion was on essential features, objects and reasons of the bill which have been prepared according to the main provisions of the UN Convention against Corruption," joint committee member Prashant Bhushan told reporters.

"All signatories of the UN Convention against Corruption have to pass this kind of law," he added.

India signed the UN Convention against Corruption in 2005, but has not ratified it yet.

The joint committee, which has five representatives each from the government and civil society, was formed after veteran Gandhian Anna Hazare went on a five-day fast April 4-9.

Civil society members in the committee include activist Arvind Kejriwal, former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde, Anna Hazare and former law minister Shanti Bhushan, who is the panel`s co-chairman. From government`s side, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is the co-chairman, and the other members are Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily and Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.

The first meeting of the joint committee was held April 16 when a modified draft of the Jan Lokpal Bill, the activist`s version of the anti-graft legislation, was presented to the government.


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