New Delhi: The Union Cabinet, Thursday, approved the Lokpal Bill draft and announced that it will be introduced in the Monsoon session of Parliament, set to begin on August 01.
The most important issue that was mulled over during the two-hour long deliberations is the one concerning the demand by the civil society to bring Prime Minister and higher judiciary under the ambit of the proposed Lokpal.
As per sources, the Bill approved by Cabinet has kept the PM and higher judiciary out of the purview of the anti-corruption ombudsman.
However, media reports claimed that the draft Bill does include a key demand by the civil society members that the Lokpal be given sou moto powers.
As per the approved draft, the Lokpal will have an independent investigation arm to ensure time bound probe.
There are differences between activists and government and even among political parties about the structure and selection process of the Lokpal.
Social activist Anna Hazare, who has been campaigning for a strong Lokpal Bill to fight corruption, yesterday said the bill which is likely to be discussed by the Cabinet is “weak” and “ineffective”.
“It is a rare opportunity for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to change the history of India. If they present a strong Lokpal Bill, the whole country will be indebted to them. We sincerely appeal to the Cabinet to present a strong Lokpal Bill in Parliament,” Hazare said.
A 10-member Lokpal bill joint drafting committee, constituting members of the civil society and the government, was formed in April after a fast by Hazare to demand a stringent anti-corruption law.
The civil society members want the Lokpal bill to be passed in Parliament by August 15.
Anna Hazare had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh informing him about his decision to go on an indefinite fast from August 16, if the government dithers on the Lokpal Bill.