Govt committed to constitutional status to Lokpal

Patna/New Delhi: Government on Friday said it was "irrevocably" committed to making the proposed Lokpal a constitutional authority, criticising attempts by some people to "mislead" the nation on this issue.

The reaffirmation of Government`s commitment came even as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Lokpal Abhishek Singhvi refused to set a deadline for finalising its crucial report. The Congress MP however insisted that the panel was working on the issue with "unparallel swiftness." "There are people who want to mislead the nation. We are irrevocably committed to making Lokpal a constitutional authority," Union Law Minister Salman Khursheed said, dubbing corruption as `a virus`.

Team Anna and BJP have not been too enthused on the Government`s move to make Lokpal a Constitutional authority, saying it was a "delaying tactic". "Corruption has become virus in the present set up it is a serious challenge… but the Centre wants to accord constitutional status to the proposed Lokpal," Khursheed said.

"People of the country have seen the movement for Lokpal in India … we don`t want cheap popularity … the Sonia Gandhi led National Advisory Council has advocated for a strong Lokpal," he said at a function in Patna on the occasion of the birth anniversary of former Bihar chief minister Srikrishna Singh.

Referring to AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, he said "our leader says it is not a small matter to give constitutional right to Lokpal. "At the same time, I will say that Lokpal alone will not solve the issue of corruption … even the judiciary has been against corruption for long … the government is aware of it and taking steps."

Singhvi refused to set a time frame for finalising the Parliamentary panel report on Lokpal. "No deadline, no timeline can be given" was his refrain to repeated questions by reporters in Delhi on whether the Committee would be able to finalise the report before Winter Session of Parliament so that the bill could be taken up there as promised by the Government. The session is due to start next month.