The joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill met in New Delhi on Monday in a bid to bridge the differences on some proposals concerning the jurisdiction of the proposed Lok pal.
Both the government side and the Anna Hazare team said the three-hour-long meeting was held in a “very cordial atmosphere” but differed on the extent of its success.
The committee will meet on Tuesday for the last time during which both the sides will exchange their drafts on which they will comment upon.HRD Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters that 80 to 85 percent issues were resolved while activists Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan differed on this percentage but contended that there was consensus on majority of the issues.
“On a range of issues, there is a broad agreement. It is a major step forward. Both sides feel we should move towards a consensus to formulate a draft where difficult issues of divergence are spelt out when it goes to political parties sometime in July,” Sibal said on Monday.
On the basis of this, a strong Lokpal Bill can be drafted and sent to Cabinet so that it can be introduced in Parliament in the Monsoon session.”There is agreement on 80 to 85 per cent of issues…I feel this is a very major breakthrough,” Sibal said.
Hazare also said the meeting was good but left it to Bhushan and other associates to give details.
Explaining on the new issues that came up, Bhushan said, “according to government version, the appointment committee is filled with politicians and government officials. Our bill has provision for an independent, broad-based committee like the Chief Election Commissioner.”
The government version proposes that the selection committee should comprise Prime Minister, Speaker, Leaders of both Houses of Parliament, Leaders of Opposition of both Houses, Lok Sabha Speaker, Home Minister, Cabinet Secretary, a Supreme Court judge and a High Court Chief Justice, Kejriwal said.
“In their committee, there are more politicians,” he said and questioned this move, contending that the appointment of Lokpal will be then under their direct control although they would be ones against whom the ombudsman would be conducting investigations at some stage.
On the removal procedure of Lokpal, Bhushan said the government position was that only it can approach the Supreme Court in this regard while the civil society insisted that “anyone” could move the apex court for the purpose.
“The issue of bringing the post of Prime Minister under purview of Lokpal was not discussed today,” he said about the meeting which was not attended by Justice Santosh Hegde, one of the five members of the civil society.
He will attend Tuesday’s meeting.