Second meeting of Lokpal bill drafting committee on Monday

The Joint Drafting Committee comprising five Union ministers and as representatives of civil society to frame an effective anti-graft law will hold its second meeting on Monday.

Last Updated: May 01, 2011, 18:03 PM IST

New Delhi: The Joint Drafting Committee
comprising five Union ministers and as representatives of
civil society to frame an effective anti-graft law will hold
its second meeting on Monday to discuss the latest version of
the Jan Lokpal Bill prepared by Gandhian Anna Hazare`s team.

Ahead of the meeting, Chairman of the Committee Finance
Mukherjee will hold a strategy session with government
representatives to firm up Centre`s stand on the latest draft
of the Jan Lokpal Bill which, among other things, envisages a
provision empowering the office of the Lokpal to intercept
telephone conversations.

Top officials of the Law Ministry, who have gone through
the Jan Lokpal Bill, will make a presentation on the salient
features of the Jan Lokpal Bill before the Union Ministers.

The second meeting comes against the backdrop of
differences on the inclusion of judiciary in the anti-graft
legislation.

At a round-table organised recently, two former Chief
Justices of India - JS Verma and MN Venkatachalaiah - had
opposed inclusion of judges of the Supreme Court and High
Courts in the proposed legislation.

The latest version has a new clause, Clause 13-C, which
gives wide powers to "an appropriate bench of the Lokpal" to
"approve interception and monitoring of messages or data or
voice transmitted through telephones, internet or any other
medium as covered under the India Telegraph Act, read with
Information and Technology Act 2000."

At present, the powers to intercept telephonic
communications is vested with the Home Ministry.
Another new provision in this draft is for setting up of a
separate "prosecution wing" for the office of Lokpal, which is
already envisaged to have powers to investigate. The draft was
circulated to government representatives during the
Committee`s fist meeting on April 16.

PTI