Open to all views: Parl panel chief on Lokpal

Last Updated: Saturday, August 20, 2011 - 18:15

New Delhi: The Parliamentary panel examining
the Lokpal Bill is open to all kinds of views to formulate a
strong legislation and has not pre-judged the issue, the panel
chairman Abhishek Singhvi said on Saturday.

"I wish to reiterate again and again that we are open to
all options and views. Every aspect process, input, draft,
suggestion and consequence is completely open...No one should
have any doubt that the Committee is having any kind of
pre-judgement on any issue. We are at the beginning, not the
end of the process," Singhvi, heading the Parliamentary
Standing Committee on Lokpal, told reporters.

His remarks came in reply to questions on whether the
Committee could also agree to some of provisions of the Jan
Lokpal bill as being demanded by the Anna Hazare Team.

Singhvi insisted that there was a procedure that has to
be followed indicating that meeting the deadline of Team Anna
that the Lokpal Bill should be presented before the Parliament
by end-August may not be possible.

"If we follow the detailed procedure as laid in the
tradition and complete the job by August 31 and present the
Bill, you will make fun of our Committee and say that you did
work without seriously applying your mind," he said speaking
on behalf of the Standing Committee and with a caveat that it
was for the government to take decision in this regard.

"The Committee has invited views of diverse stakeholders.
It will take them up clause by clause to take ideal elements
of each proposal and try to create the best and strongest
Bill," he added.

Singhvi`s remarks are significant as the committee is
contemplating inviting Anna Hazare team as well as some other
some other civil society members for a meeting on the issue in
the first week of September.

Singhvi, who is also the spokesperson of the ruling
Congress, made the remarks on a day when Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh affirmed that there was a "lot of scope for
give and take" on the Lokpal Bill and the government was open
to "discussion and dialogue" on the issue.

After the last night meeting of Congress Core Group
chaired by the Prime Minister, indications were available that
the government was not averse to re-negotiating with Team
Anna.

Singhvi said "the object of the large number of people
(agitating against corruption) is same as that of Congress
party to fight corruption" but held that there was a "slight
difference" in the methodology of reaching the destination.

He found an "internal contradiction" between the
sovereignty of Parliament and external or internal deadlines".

"If the country`s Parliament is sovereign, there is an
obvious contradiction between deadlines and this sovereignty,"
he said.

Refusing to comment on team Anna`s criticism of the
Standing Committee, Singhvi said, "We are only doing something
that is not done yesterday. We are following a tradition that
is 300 to 400 years old, where members irrespective of their
differences try to discuss logically and decide by agreement
and consensus."

He added, "We are carrying out our work on Lokpal Bill
seriously. As per procedure laid, we have to first invite the
views, hold meeting with stakeholders, and after hearing
evidence and doing a clause by clause analysis, present a detailed report along with recommendations to the Parliament."

Singhvi refused to comment on earlier controversies over
Congress seeing RSS or USA hand behind the agitation saying he
was not interested in "digging old graves".

PTI



First Published: Saturday, August 20, 2011 - 18:15

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