The nine-month-old battle for the lokpal bill between the government and Team Anna has entered a decisive phase, with the parliamentary panel examining it having almost completed its work — although leaving the issue of bringing the prime minister under the watchdog to Parliament.
The committee on law and justice, headed by the Congress’ Abhishek Singhvi, will meet for the last time on Wednesday to adopt the report before the government placing it in Parliament by Friday.
The committee’s tenure was to end on Tuesday, but Singhvi met Rajya Sabha chairperson and vice-president Hamid Ansari and sought two-three days more to wrap up procedural formalities.
The lokpal issue shot into national importance in April when social activist Anna Hazare sat on a five-day fast and followed it up with a 12-day fast in August for setting up an anti-graft watchdog.
Government sources indicated that once the panel’s report is placed in Parliament, the amended bill would be tabled in both the Houses in 10 working days.
In the 199-page final draft report circulated to Parliament members on Tuesday, the panel said three broad views had emerged on the inclusion or exclusion of the prime minister under lokpal.
It said the views should be sent as ‘options’ and should be left to the “good sense” of Parliament.
“It would, therefore, be pointless in debating the diverse arguments in respect of each option or against each option.”
The committee also recommended that Group C and D category employees of the central government “shall be brought specifically under the jurisdiction of the Central Vigilance Commission.”