No delay on Lokpal Bill: Abhishek Manu Singhvi
There would be no delay, except for a "couple of days", in submitting the report on the anti-graft Lokpal Bill in Parliament, Singhvi, head of a panel studying the draft legislation, said today while National Advisory Council member Aruna Roy demanded that the bill be passed in the current house session. Watch Videodelhi Updated: Dec 06, 2011 20:39 IST
There would be no delay, except for a "couple of days", in submitting the report on the anti-graft Lokpal Bill in Parliament, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, head of a panel studying the draft legislation, said on Tuesday while National Advisory Council member Aruna Roy demanded that the bill be passed in the current house session.
Roy's views on the Lokpal Bill have been at variance with those of Anna Hazare, who has threatened an agitation Dec 27-Jan 5 if Parliament did not pass the legislation in the winter session ending Dec 22.
"What we should demand is the bill be passed in this session," Roy told reporters on Tuesday, adding "delay of a day or two in giving standing committee report doesn't matter much".
Roy was involved with the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI), which has also given an anti-graft draft bill to the parliamentary standing committee on law and justice examining the proposed legislation.
The committee will meet on Dec 7 to adopt the draft after which its report would be given in Parliament.
Singhvi said the original date for submitting the report was Dec 7 and a two-day procedural extension could not be called a delay.
"This is nothing but a short procedural extension. We have a formal adoption meeting Dec 7," Singhvi told reporters.
He refused to give a definite date when the report would be given but said that the extension was for translation, printing and binding of the draft report.
"If this report is submitted in the next few days, where is the delay and what is the delay you are talking about," Singhvi asked.
"I want to also remind you that if and when this report is given in the near future, it would have been done in less than two and a half months. I would like you to tell me which issue as vast and complicated as this has resulted in a parliamentary committee report in less than two and a half months," he said.
Meanwhile, demanding reservation for the Dalits, backward classes and the minorities in the anti-graft ombudsman, Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan, a member of the parliamentary panel, attended a protest rally at Jantar Mantar here organised by Dalit leader Udit Raj.
Paswan has given a note of dissent to the panel on this issue. He demanded that corporates and NGOs should also be brought under the Lokpal's ambit.
Other members, including those from the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Left parties, have also given dissent notes on the exclusion of Group C staff and the prime minister from the purview of the Lokpal, absence of a citizen's charter and a provision for Lokayukta in states besides the manner of appointing the Central Bureau of Investigation chief.
Singhvi's comments come in the wake of Hazare's threats to hold a day-long protest Dec 11 to press his demand for a strong Lokpal bill.
Hazare and his supporters have expressed their dissatisfaction over the line adopted by the standing committee and said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was to be blamed for flip flops by the panel.
Singhvi denied this. "What has given you the impression that we are writing this report to please anyone or everyone? What has given you the idea that we are writing this report to please any individual, organisation or all organisations and individuals," he asked.
He said the panel prepared the report to "only to satisfy our conscience and the national interest".
"If this committee was set up to rubber stamp your (Hazare's) version or X version or Y version, then why was this committee set up in the first place," he asked.