PM should be out of Lokpal till he demits office: Sibal

PM should be out of Lokpal till he demits office: Sibal

PM should be out of Lokpal till he demits office: Sibal

"Within the government, we feel prima facie, the Prime Minister should not be covered (under the Lokpal). But at the same time we want to make sure that if he demits office, he should not be exonerated from prosecution," said HRD Minister Sibal who is part of the joint drafting committee on Lokpal.

However, he said, the five ministers in the joint committee were willing to be persuaded to bring the Prime Minister under the ambit of the anti-corruption legislation if the civil society side gives a "compelling argument".

Contending that it was not the question of "an individual, Manmohan Singh" but "an institution", he said on Karan Thapar's Devil's Advocate programme, "Which Prime Minister in office anywhere in the world has been prosecuted in the world? Please tell me, please give me an example."

The government is also "clear" that the conduct of MPs inside Parliament should not come under the Lokpal, he said.

"What happens inside the House, the Speaker and the House should deal with it...and not the Lokpal. We can have a mechanism within the House where sanction can be given for investigation once the Ethics Committee concludes that there is a criminal offence," he argued.

He said the government was against bringing higher judiciary under Lokpal's ambit but open to look into civil society's suggestions on corruption there in the Judicial Accountability Bill "if they are acceptable to the government".

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