Govt agrees with activists' doctrine on Lokpal bill | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Govt agrees with activists' doctrine on Lokpal bill

delhi Updated: May 07, 2011 22:52 IST
Nagendar Sharma
Nagendar Sharma
Hindustan Times
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The government on Saturday broadly agreed with the basic principles of the anti-graft Lokpal bill but there was no unanimity on bringing the Prime Minister's Office and the judiciary within its ambit.

During the third meeting of the 10-member joint panel headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, both sides decided to begin the drafting work on the highly publicised bill to finalise it before the mutually agreed June 30 deadline.

Both sides evaded a direct reply on the differences, but conceded that it required further consultations.

"A good discussion took place on general principles of the Jan Lokpal bill proposed by the civil society activists. Areas of agreement have been identified and drafting work will begin," telecom minister Kapil Sibal said after the meeting.

Supreme Court lawyer and drafting committee member of Hazare's team, Prashant Bhushan said: "The government agrees that the Lokpal should have financial and functional autonomy and the process for selecting its members should be transparent."

The government indicated its willingness for having a selection panel to appoint members of the Lokpal, but joint drafting panel raised questions on the composition of the selection and search panels proposed by the activists.

"You have mentioned that the youngest Supreme Court judge should be a member of the selection panel, but in the search committee you want retired judges. Isn't there a contradiction," remarked a government member of the panel.

Though there was unanimity on the point that the chairperson and members of the Lokpal shall not be eligible for any government posting after demitting office, there were differences on imposing a ban on them from contesting polls later on.

The next meetings will take place on May 23 and May 30.