THE LAWFILE

Manmohan for strong, effective Lokpal Bill

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PRIME MINISTER MANMOHAN SINGH

Affirming his commitment for a strong and effective Lokpal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said there is a “dynamic” in the legislative process which takes time.

In an apparent reference to Mr. Anna Hazare demand for passing the Jan Lokpal by this month-end, Singh said he does not want to controvert anything that was being said on it.

He said all the parties should work together to push for a “strong and effective” Lokpal and remove the “obstacles” in the way.

Observing that there was a “lot of scope for give and take”, the Prime Minister said the government was “open to discussion and dialogue” as it wants a national consensus to emerge.

“We are all in favour of a Lokpal, which is strong, which is effective,” he told a group of journalists after a full Planning Commission meeting while answering questions on the Hazare agitation.

“We are open to, I think, discussion and dialogue. We would like…a broad national consensus to emerge,” Dr. Singh underlined.

“Therefore there is a lot of scope for give and take. Our hope is that we can enlist the cooperation of all thinking segements of Indian public opinion to ensure that the end product is a strong and effective Lokpal which all sections of our community want,” he said.

He noted that the government had presented a Lokpal Bill in Parliament which was the demand of all political parties voiced at a conference convened by him.

“They (parties) said we cannot give you our view point unless and until you come out with a draft. We have fulfilled that obligation,” he said.

Panel seek suggestions

Earlier a Parliamentary committee examining the Lokpal Bill on Saturday sought suggestions from public within 15 days, making it clear that the August 30 deadline set by Anna Hazare on passing the anti-corruption legislation would not be met.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice and Personnel issued an advertisement in dailies outlining salient features of the Bill and asking people to send their opinions and suggestions within 15 days.

While 15 days is the standard time given by Parliamentary panels to people or organisations to send feedback on bills, the time-frame in this case makes it clear that the deadline of August 30 set by Mr. Hazare for passing the Lokpal Bill will not be met.

Soon after the bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on August 4, the Rajya Sabha Chairman had referred it to the Committee and given it three months to give recommendations.

The Standing Committee on Law and Justice and Personnel is serviced by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat and is headed by a Rajya Sabha member — in this case Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

Soon after the bill was referred to it, the Committee had invited team Hazare to place its views before the panel. The Hazare team appeared before the Committee later.

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram recently said Mr. Hazare was free to give his views to the panel once again.

Reacting to the newspaper advertisement, Mr. Hazare`s associate Arvind Kejriwal said it appeared to be an exercise which will waste the time of people and Parliamentarians.

“We appeared before the Standing Committee earlier and told them that the present bill is actually for promotion of corruption and save the corrupt people,” he said.

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    Half a victory « THE LAWFILE

    September 6, 2011 at 7:19 pm


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