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House panel hearing on Lokpal to begin today

The parliamentary panel examining the highly publicised anti-graft Lokpal Bill will today begin seeking the views on main issues concerning the legislation, including the three core demands raised by Anna Hazare. Nagendar Sharma reports.

delhi Updated: Sep 23, 2011 11:06 IST
Nagendar Sharma
Nagendar Sharma

The parliamentary panel examining the highly publicised anti-graft Lokpal Bill will on Friday begin seeking the views on main issues concerning the legislation, including the three core demands raised by social activist Anna Hazare.

The parliamentary standing committee on law and justice, headed by the Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi will hear the views of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), the Bar Council of India (BCI) and some civil society groups over the next two days.

On Friday, the CVC is expected to make a detailed presentation, followed by the National Advisory Council member Aruna Roy and her colleagues. The BCI and some independent lawyers will meet the panel on Saturday. The parliamentary panel has identified 12 main issues related to the bill.

These include the three main issues raised by Hazare during his fast in August — bringing the entire bureaucracy under the Lokpal’s ambit, setting up the anti-corruption watchdog at the centre and states through a single legislation to be passed by the Parliament and introduction of a mandatory citizens' charter in all the government departments.

The panel has also kept the issues of bringing the PM and the NGOs within the Lokpal's ambit in its list.

In its presentation, the CVC is likely to argue for widening of the Lokpal's ambit by allowing the complaints of graft against the corporate houses.

"The main thrust of our recommendation among others would be to avoid conflict of interest with the Lokpal while allocating work and powers," a senior CVC official said.

"The parliamentary panel should consider incorporating either the Central Vigilance Commissioner or one of the two Vigilance Commissioners into the Lokpal for smooth functioning," said the official.

The CBI is also expected to make a presentation before the panel soon. The agency is likely to oppose the popular demand of bringing it under the Lokpal's control and would demand complete functional autonomy.

The panel has to devise ways to form a strong Lokpal and solve the differences between the civil society group and the government over the bill.