Lokpal bill draft may not meet deadline

Lokpal bill draft may not meet deadline

Annas team to submit list of issues to govt today

The confrontation between the Central government and Anna Hazare’s team has brought to the fore a sharp divide and the  possibility of civil society members not returning to meetings has also increased considerably.  Even if meetings are resumed on a daily basis, the committee is unlikely to meet its deadline.

In a letter to Union Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday, the member of the joint committee to draft the Bill, Shanti Bhushan has expressed doubt about meeting the deadline.   

The doubt raised by the civil society members seems to be valid as the issues which are likely to be added to the list of contentious issues may be too tough for the government to accept. Public consultations across the country have broadened the areas to  be covered by the proposed Lokpal Bill to such an extent that it has become difficult for India Against Corruption to ignore it.

Corporate accountability and indirect corruption in allocating public resources and largesse could be enlisted for bringing in the ambit of Lokpal.  The issue has been raised by committee member and lawyer Prashant Bhushan many a time.  

“When issues like bringing the prime minister and higher judiciary under the ambit of the bill is still evading a solution, how can the committee accommodate more difficult issues in just 25  days?”asks an India Against Corruption activist.

However, civil society members are asserting that they are ready to spare time and it could be done.  

Arvind Kejriwal had on Monday said they would resume attending meetings if the government’s views on all the three contentious issues are made public.
“This is necessary to ensure an informed debate on the issue,” he added.

Anna’s team will submit the list of issues by Tuesday on which the government has to respond. However, the letter to the government makes it clear the differences are huge.
If the vision of the government is adopted, the Lokpal would  be left to investigate corruption charges of about 3,000 odd officers and ministers. The question raised by Anna’s team could hardly get an answer.

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