Ruling out the possibility of ministry of corporate affairs stepping into the spectrum scam, corporate affairs minister Salman Khurshid on Wednesday said he would discuss the issue of regulating corporate lobbying with other ministries following the storm over the Niira Radia tapes.
“These (spectrum scam) are not company law-complaint issues entirely. These are issues that involved many other things that the ministry concerned has to consider. I can’t barge into any other ministry’s mandates and say I will look into it,” Kurshid told reporters here.
When asked if there was a move to ban or regulate corporate lobbying after the Radia tapes controversy, he said “there is no law on this now. Today we do not have anything in the draft before Parliament. But we may have to find some other way of regulating it.”
Defending the practice of corporate lobbying, he said, “This is democracy. I see nothing wrong in a person promoting a point of view. That point will always be promoted sometimes generally person to person, sometimes sector to sector and sometimes industry to industry in front of the government.”
Following the leakage of conversations of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia with politicians, corporates and media persons, which have stirred a hornets’ nest, Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata has moved the Supreme Court against the leakage of tapes and further publication of the same.
Lobbying is a legitimate business in countries like the US. However it is not recognised in India in statutory or non-statutory form. Diljeet Titus, senior partner of law firm Titus & Co said, “Lobbying, which basically means influencing government decisions externally, could invite Prevention of Corruption Act and may also go against the service rules for bureaucrats.”