New Delhi, Aug 20: Notwithstanding Anna Hazare's demands for passage of Lokpal Bill by August-end, a Parliamentary Committee examining the matter today made it clear that the deadline cannot be met because of procedures as part of which views of public were sought by September three.
Abhishek Singhvi, Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice and Personnel, insisted that a certain procedure has to be followed which will take time.
“If we follow the detailed procedure as laid in the tradition and complete the job by August 31 and present the Bill, you will make fun of our Committee and say that you did work without seriously applying your mind,” he told a press conference here.
“The Committee has invited views of diverse stakeholders. It will take them up clause by clause to take ideal elements of each proposal and try to create the best and strongest Bill,” he added.
At the same time, Singhvi said it was for the government to take decision on the fate of the bill.
Contending that the Committee was “open to all options and views”, he said, “Every aspect process, input, draft, suggestion and consequence is completely open...No one should have any doubt that the Committee is having any kind of pre-judgement on any issue. We are at the beginning, not the end of the process.”
Earlier in the day, an advertisement given by the Committee appeared in newspapers today, seeking suggestions from public on the Bill within 15 days.
The advertisement outlined salient features of the Bill and asking people to send their opinions and suggestions.
While 15 days is the standard time given by Parliamentary panels to people or organisations to send feedback on bills, the time-frame in this case makes it clear that the August-end deadline set by Hazare for passing the Lokpal Bill will not be met.
Soon after the bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on August 4, Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari had referred it to the Committee and given it three months to give recommendations.
Soon after the bill was referred to it, the Committee had invited team Hazare to place its views before the panel. The Hazare team appeared before the Committee later.
Home Minister P Chidambaram recently said Hazare was free to give his views to the panel once again. Reacting to the newspaper advertisement, Hazare‘s associate Arvind Kejriwal said it appeared to be an exercise which will waste the time of people and Parliamentarians.
“We appeared before the Standing Committee earlier and told them that the present bill is actually for promotion of corruption and save the corrupt people,” he said. PTI