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Parl panel on Lokpal divided on PM inclusion

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 23:40

New Delhi: The Parliamentary Committee on
Lokpal Bill was on Wednesday sharply divided with members from BJP
and the Left demanding inclusion of the Prime Minister within
its ambit while those from Congress favoured coverage of the
Prime Minister after he demits office.

There are some members, including those from smaller
groups like BSP, SP and AIADMK who opposed the inclusion of
the Prime Minister within the ambit of Lokpal.
Chairman of the Standing Committee on Personnel and Law
and Justice Abhishek Singhvi said after the meeting that the
report has been "adopted" by the committee but opposition
members contested this saying it cannot be considered as
adopted till the time their dissent notes are submitted.

With today`s meeting, the Committee concluded its
deliberations on the Lokpal Bill that was referred to it in
August during the last session of Parliament that saw Anna
Hazare calling off his fast at the Ramlila Maidan.

During over 15 sittings lasting 40 hours, the Committee
deliberated on various issues including bringing the office of
the Prime Minister under Lokpal, citizens` charter, public
grievances mechanism and inclusion of the entire bureaucracy
under its ambit.

Members from BJP wanted inclusion of the Prime Minister
with some safeguards and citizens` charter to be a part of the
Lokpal institution. They also demanded the inclusion of the
entire bureaucracy under the ambit of the ombudsman.

Congress members strongly opposed inclusion of the
incumbent Prime Minister saying he could be covered after he
demits office.

Samajwadi Party`s main demand was to make the citizen`s
charter to be a part of the Lokpal.
Singhvi said the report to be tabled in Parliament will
reflect dissent notes of members who have divergent views
on "some" issues.

Members from CPI-M and AIADMK are also learnt to have
differed on various aspects of the Bill.

In the 30-member Committee, there are nine members from
Congress, one each from Trinamool Congress, RJD and LJP. BJP
has seven members while CPI-M, AIADMK and SP have one member
each. BJD and BSP also have one member each in the Committee
which also has two Independents and as many nominated members.

RSP and SDF also have one member each.

AIADMK is learnt to have insisted that creation of Lokpal
at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states should not be done
though a single act. It should be left to states to create the
institution of Lokayukta.

The party opposed the inclusion of the Prime Minister
under the ambit of Lokpal.

BJP member in the Committee Kirti Azad said the bill does
not reflect the `sense of the House` adopted in August this

"The sense of the House was inclusion of the lower
bureaucracy, the citizens` charter and public grievances," he
said after the meeting.

He said all the seven members of BJP in the committee
would give their dissent note to Chairman Singhvi after
talking to the party leadership.

"There is law, there is politics. There are also various
views...a decision will be taken keeping in view these people
people who have some disagreement on some issues," Singhvi
told reporters adding there was was a large measure of
consensus and convergence.

On the issue of inclusion of the Prime Minister within
the ambit of Lokpal, he said the various views on the subject
have some logic. "What the Committee agrees to, you will find
in the report."

He said while one view is to keep the Prime Minister out
of the purview of Lokpal, the other view is to keep him
within the ambit of the institution but with some safeguards.

Another view, he said, was to cover the PM under the
ombudsman but to keep the prosecution and legal process
suspended till he was in office. He called it the "deferment


First Published: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 21:49
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