The government and Team Anna on Saturday clashed over the role of the parliamentary panel currently examining the highly-publicised anti-graft Lokpal Bill, introduced by the government in the Lok Sabha on August 4.
The latest slugfest was triggered by a newspaper advertisement by the parliamentary standing committee on law and justice, in which it has invited suggestions from the citizens on the bill within 15 days.
Team Anna dismissed the advertisement as a "time-wasting exercise", since it has sought views only on the government's bill, which they termed was a "promotion of corruption bill."
Arvind Kejriwal, a key Anna Hazare aide, said when his team had appeared before the committee on August 10, it had demanded withdrawal of the government bill. "We had requested the standing committee to send it back to the government. There is no point in wasting time on a totally wrong bill," he said.
Minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office, V Narayansamy said the criticism of parliamentary committee was a clear case of breach of parliamentary privilege. "The parliamentary standing committee system has been evolved so that it is going to be a mini Parliament. If anybody criticises it, if they cast aspersions on it, it is clearly a case of breach of privilege," Narayansamy said. Team Anna also slammed the committee for what they termed as restricting the scope of views to be sought. "It would have been far more representative had the advertisement asked for comments on both versions of the bill," said former police officer, Kiran Bedi.
The standing committee chairman, Abhishek Singhvi said it would not be possible to meet Hazare's deadline of passing the bill by August 30.
"If we follow the detailed procedure as laid in the tradition and complete the job by August 31 and present the bill, you will make fun of our committee and say that you did work without seriously applying your mind," he said.
Team Anna though insisted that if the government wanted it can get the bill passed, in as few as five days, though it didn't say exactly how.
Email your suggestions on the Lokpal Bill 2011 to the Standing Committe.