Lokpal panel 'agreed to disagree', no consensus

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Lokpal panel members
New Delhi, Jun 21: The last and final meeting between Anna Hazare team and government representatives failed to break the deadlock over the Lokpal draft to be presented before the Union Cabinet in the upcoming monsoon session in the Parliament.

Union Telecom Minister and one of the members of the joint committee panel to draft Lokpal bill, Kapil Sibal claimed that the two teams of the committee "agreed to disagree" with their proposals tabled by the two sides.

After the meeting, civil society members - Prashath Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal showed their disappointment with government's draft on Lokpal. Explaining their disappointment with the government, Bhushan said, "This Lokpal will be dominated by political class. It will be limited to enquire into corruption by senior officers, excluding the Prime Minister, higher judiciary and MPs. The Government has submitted its draft bill to us. For the first time we are able to see what kind of Lokpal the government has in mind. We are deeply disappointed. The Lokpal will be appointed by a political selection committee. The powers and functions have been greatly limited."

While Sibal said, "The draft will be circulated. The suggestions will be kept before the Cabinet. Whatever will be decided after the meeting, will be the final draft and it will be introduced in Parliament in the Monsoon Session. There are disagreements on six issues."

The issues which have divided Lokpal panel are:

  • Prison term for guilty: Hazare wants minimum 6 months to a maximum of life; government wants 10 years.
  • Hazare says common man can refer complaints for removal of Lokpal, government says only government can refer it to the Supreme Court.
  • Hazare says the PM should be under the purview of the Lokpal; government disagrees
  • Hazare says PM and higher judiciary should be under the purview
  • Hazare wants Lokpal to have the authority to remove any minister; government says yes, barring the PM
  • Hazare says conduct of MPs to be included; government says conduct not within the Parliament
  • Hazare says CBI's vigilante wing and the CVC should be merged with Lokpal
  • Hazare says CAG and CED to be part of Lokpal panel
  • Hazare says all bureaucrats should be included; govt says only senior bureaucracy
  • Hazare wants prosecution and power to tap phones; govt says no to prosecution, and permission from home secretary for phone taps

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