Lokpal panel to meet Sep 7 to decide on time limit: Singhvi

However, he also stressed that the parliamentary standing committee would try to give its recommendations before the winter session of parliament.

"It is not possible to fix a time limit for the recommendations. Usually, such panels seek two to three extensions, which could mean a period of 9 to 12 months," Singhvi said.
According to Singhvi, the issues related to fixing time limit will be decided by the standing committee at its Sep 7 meeting.

"These issues (fixing time lines) would be decided by the collective wisdom of the panel," said Singhvi.

He, however, said the panel would "try to stick" to its earlier deadline of "submitting the recommendations before the winter session."

He had recently said the panel would submit its recommendations on the draft Lokpal Bill within three months. The bill would then be debated in parliament.

The standing committee on law and justice will hold discussions on the Lokpal issue and examine the various drafts of the bill, including the Jan Lokpal Bill, given by Team Anna Hazare, and those of activist Aruna Roy and Loksatta chief Jayaprakash Narayan.

The panel will also consider suggestions by AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi and former chief election commissioner T.N. Seshan besides the drafts submitted by the citizens.

The panel headed by Singhvi will also take note of the sense of the parliament on the three key demands made by Team Anna relating to a citizen's charter, bringing lower bureaucracy under the Lokpal and setting up Lok Ayuktas in the states.

After the standing committee submits its recommendations, the parliament will debate the draft Lokpal bill presented by the government.

At this stage, it would be possible to have amendments in the bill, before it finally goes for voting.

Once the bill is passed by both the houses of parliament, it will go to President Pratibha Patil for her approval, before becoming a law.

The deliberations over the Lokpal issue may not be an easy way ahead for the standing committee due to its composition.

Besides Singhvi, another Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari, who got into trouble over his accusations that Anna Hazare was corrupt from "head to toe" is a member of the panel. He later apologised.

Former union minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, who has worked with five prime ministers, may not support the strong Lokpal bill that Team Anna wants.

Then there are members like Amar Singh, who is facing charges of corruption in the cash for votes scam and RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who had faced many corruption charges. While Singh had problems with key Anna associates Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan, Lalu Prasad believes in supremacy of parliament and may not favour a strong Lokpal.

But BJP Rajya Sabha MP and former law minister Ram Jethmalani may favour a strong Lokpal as he has supported a campaign to bring back Indian black money in Swiss banks.

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