Tough task ahead for Lokpal drafting committee

Anna Hazare

It will also consider ways to make the process transparent.

The civil society members of the committee are expected to push for speedier drafting of the Bill in view the June 30 deadline set.  Co-chairman of the committee Shanti Bhushan has written to its chairman Pranab Mukherjee urging the government to express its opinion on all the issues listed to be resolved. In three meetings so far, the drafting committee has been able to agree on only seven of the 34 points. These pertain to the selection and independence of Lokpal.

The transparency aspect in the drafting process has been raised by National Advisory Council member Aruna Roy-led National Campaign for Public Right to Information (NCPRI).

The organisation has demanded that every bit of information should be in public domain.

The government is yet to accept the civil society members’ demand of video-recording of the proceedings of the committee. Besides Shanti Bhushan and Pranab  Mukherjee, the committee has Union ministers Kapil Sibal, Veerappa Moily, Salman Khurshid and P Chidambaram as members from the government side and Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde, Prashant Bhushan, Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal as members from the civil society.  The government has agreed to bring all public representatives including ministers under the jurisdiction of the Lokpal, but no agreement could be reached regarding the inclusion of the prime minister and the judiciary. The government members are resisting granting jurisdiction over the judiciary citing opposition from two former Chief Justices of India,  Justice M N Venkatachaliah and Justice J S Verma.

The committee has reached a consensus on bringing all categories of bureaucrats under the Lokpal’s jurisdiction.

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