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‘Panel unlikely to reject Parl’s Lokpal pledge’

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley has said that though the `sense of the House` passed by Parliament on the three demands of Team Anna is not binding on the Standing Committee, it is unlikely to reject it.

New Delhi: Leader of Opposition in Rajya
Sabha Arun Jaitley has said that though the `sense of the House`
passed by Parliament on the three demands of Team Anna is not
binding on the Standing Committee, it is unlikely to reject

He said it "is a commitment before the whole country. The
chances of the House going back on it normally does not

Maintaining that it was only an "in-principle" acceptance
of the three points raised by Team Anna, Jaitley explained
that there was "no proposer, no seconder, and no voting" as is
normally the case when a resolution is passed.

"I think Parliamentary flexibility gives you enough
leeway. If you were to ask me in one sentence, I think it was
a sense of the House statement which in the text used the word
resolve twice.

"So there is a genuine ambiguity. But I am quite willing
to accept it as a statement which indicates that it is a
resolve on the part of the House," Jaitley said in an
interview to a news channel.

"When a statement was read out by Pranab Mukherjee and
which uses the word resolve twice, the entire House thumped
their desks in approval," Jaitley said.

However, he said, "As long as all concerned political
parties and Team Anna treated it as a resolution even though
it is a unanimous approval of a sense of the House, I think
(there are) very little turns in this."

The BJP leader said it was for the Standing Committee to
decide how the modalities are going to be worked out in

"It respects the dignity of Standing Committee in as much
as it does not give it a directive. It leaves the nuts and
bolts of how it is to be framed to the Standing Committee,"
Jaitley said.

Jaitley said working out the details of the Lokpal Bill
is the job of the Standing Committee.

"I think the three principles ordinarily would find a
place in the final draft in a positive sense. The House is
very responsible and so is the Standing Committee...."

The senior BJP leader claimed that there were several
points of agreement between his party and Team Anna. This
includes the three issues of Citizens` Charter, lower
judiciary and the Lokayukta.

Jaitley said the Centre would not legislate on most of
these issues and, according to federal principles, only an
enabling law would be passed by the Centre.

"Each state would work it out for itself.... There is an
enabling law under Article 252. We are a federal polity," he
said. He, however, said Team Anna had insisted that the Centre
can legislate on some of these issues.

The eminent lawyer claimed the Lokayukta will have "two
possible powers"- to prosecute under CrPC and IPC and dealing
with the bureaucracy of the state. For the first, the Centre
can legislate as it comes under the Concurrent List but for
the second the Centre has no jurisdiction.

"That part of the law can never be binding on the state
and so it can only be an enabling law or a model law," Jaitley
said, adding that this model law may or may not be accepted by
the states.

On inclusion of lower bureaucracy within the Lokpal`s
ambit, as demanded by Team Anna, Jaitley said, "I think
legislating on a contentious area at times is also an art of
the possible, particularly when you have too many conflicting

Jaitley insisted that he and his party had "absolutely
no difficulty" with Team Anna`s proposal that the entire
bureaucracy can come under the Lokpal.

"I have absolutely no difficulty. In principle, I and
my party accept that. We would prefer that," he said, with the
caveat that if the Standing Committee came up with an
alternative proposal it could be considered.

Jaitley maintained that while he was quite flexible when
it came to legislating on lower bureaucracy, his own
"preference" has been to the view of Team Anna.

"I would urge all to keep an open mind so that by the
Winter Session we can effectively legislate," he said.


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