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Next meeting on Lokpal bill on June 15

The joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill will be back on the drawing board on June 15, the government has informed the civil society members of the committee.

delhi Updated: Jun 08, 2011 23:21 IST
Chetan Chauhan

The joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill will be back on the drawing board on June 15, the government has informed the civil society members of the committee.

The civil society members have asked finance minister Pranab Mukerjee, who is chairperson of the committee, to postpone the meeting as Anna Hazare had prior engagements between June 9 and 11.

"The government has told us that the next meeting will be held on June 15 and we are working for that," said a member of the Anna Hazare's team.

With the day-long fast over, team Hazare is expected to come out with a detailed note on why it wants the Prime Minister, higher judiciary and official of all ranks to be included in the ambit of the Lokpal Bill.

The government had resisted including PMO and higher judiciary under jurisdiction of the Lokpal saying it will crumble the functioning of the two key institutions of India.

To counter the government claim the civil society members of joint drafting committee said the government to obliged to include all institutions under Lokpal as per provisions of the UN Convention against Corruption, which has been recently ratified by India.

The UN convention provides for strong legislative instrument to fight corruption at all levels but does not prescribe the model of the institution. "The convention requires that any public servant falling in the definition of public official is covered by this Lokpal bill," Shanti Bhushan, the other co-chairperson of the committee told Mukerjee.

The civil society members will also make a presentation on all issues where there is difference of opinion with the government and will give instances for including PM and judiciary under the ambit of the Lokpal.

Most civil society members expect the political brouhaha between them and the minister will scale down before the meeting and are expecting some concrete results. They have already announced to attend all meetings despite differences.

HRD minister Kapil Sibal and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal have been engaged in a war of words on proceedings of the joint drafting committee so far. On Wednesday, home minister P Chidambaram said the Central government was committed to drafting the Lokpal Bill by June 30. "We are clearly committed to the goal that a bill will be drafted by June 30. I sincerely hope that the other five members of the Committee will return to the drafting committee's meeting," he said.