PM`s post may be brought under Lokpal ambit

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was quoted as saying that so long as the Prime Minister holds the office, any inquiry should be suspended and the Lokpal may keep the matter of inquiry with himself.

Last Updated: Jun 21, 2011, 00:23 AM IST

New Delhi: The post of Prime Minister may be brought under the purview of Lokpal with certain riders like holding the enquiry only after the person demits office,
notwithstanding the intense face-off between the government and Anna Hazare team.

In the meantime, a meeting of UPA leaders will be held on Tuesday as part of efforts to ascertain views of the alliance partners over the drafting of the Lokpal Bill.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has convened the meeting apparently to consult the constituents of the ruling alliance over ticklish issues such as bringing the post of the PM under the ambit of the anti-corruption watchdog.

The possibility of such a formulation making its way to
the draft bill became stronger when the government nominees in
the joint drafting committee discussed this aspect among
themselves at a recent meeting.

Sources said that at the sixth meeting of the committee,
which was boycotted by the Hazare team, the ministers
discussed various formulations of bringing the post of Prime
Minister under Lokpal in case of allegations.

It was felt that till anybody holds the post of Prime
Minister there should be no inquiry. But as soon as he demits
office, he could be open for scrutiny.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was quoted as saying
that so long as the Prime Minister holds the office, any
inquiry should be suspended and the Lokpal may keep the matter
of inquiry with himself.

The government and Anna Hazare team are at loggerheads
over this issue. Government feels this would make the Prime
Minister "dysfunctional" as there would be a flood of
complaints against him. However, the civil society questioned
the logic behind such a stand.

The new formulation is in tune with that of the suggestion
made by Constitution Review Commission, set up during NDA
government, and the Administrative Reforms Commission.

Three of the seven times the bill was introduced in
Parliament, it had provisions to bring the Prime Minister
under the ambit of Lokpal.

PTI