Can the proposed 11 member lokpal contest elections after demitting office? This ticklish issue came up at the sixth meeting of the joint drafting committee on the lokpal bill on June 15, which the Anna Hazare team boycotted.
Sources said the ministers could not arrive at a conclusion on the question and decided to keep the provision of barring the chairperson and members of the lokpal from contesting elections in the draft, untouched.
The five ministers left it to the wisdom of the Cabinet on the issue.
Section 5(8) of the lokpal bill version 2.3 says, "The Chairperson or members shall not be eligible for appointment on any position in Government of India or Government of any state or for fighting elections, if he has ever held the position of the Chairperson or a member for any period."
In the meeting, HRD minister Kapil Sibal said there was a need to take a view on whether lokpal members can contest elections.
According to the, finance minister and chairman of the committee, Pranab Mukherjee said a person's eligibility to contest elections was determined by the Constitution and wondered whether to make the members of lokpal ineligible to contest was legally possible.
To this, law minister M Veerappa Moily observed that such a bar would require a constitutional amendment.
Water resources minister Salman Khurshid voiced his opposition to bar the members from contesting elections.
Following this, the committee decided to leave it to the cabinet, a decision on the matter, and added a provision that the members would not be eligible for the office of President, Vice President, Parliament, Assemblies and local bodies.