Civil society members submit documents at Lokpal panel meet

New Delhi: Civil society members of the joint drafting committee for the Lokpal Bill on Monday submitted two documents to the government outlining “principles and objects” for the proposed legislation.

Both sides also expressed the desire to expedite the process by holding more meetings of the joint committee to finalise the draft by June 30.

“The civil society members on the joint drafting committee presented a document with respect to the objects of the Bill as well as a document which enunciated the general principles underlying the bill,” HRD Minister and government representative in the committee Kapil Sibal told reporters after the second meeting of the committee.

“The talks were very good. The civil society members and we will think about the proposals given by both sides and discuss again in our next meeting to be held on May 7. But the meeting was very good, very cooperative. There was no difference of opinion,” Mr. Sibal said.

“The meeting was extremely conducive to the dialogue that we have decided to initiate. We hope that by June 30 we would have decided on the broad contours and drafted a Lokpal Bill to be introduced in Parliament,” Mr. Sibal said.

He insisted that everything was going according to the plan and the objective is to have a strong Lokpal Bill to “fight the malaise of corruption.”

Civil society members in the committee, Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan, spoke on similar lines after the meeting.

“Today’s meeting was mainly to discuss the basic principles behind the Jan Lokpal Bill. The discussion was on essential features, objects and reasons of the Bill which has been prepared according to the main provisions of the UN Convention against Corruption,” Mr. Bhushan said.

Mr. Kejriwal said the two documents given to the government by the civil society members was discussed during the meeting.

The committee agreed to meet again on May 7, 23 and 30 to discuss the Bill.

Mr. Bhushan said as per the UN Convention Against Corruption all signatories to it have to pass this kind of a law.

The first meeting of the joint committee, formed after Gandhian Anna Hazare led an agitation to press the demand, was held on April 16.