New Delhi, Aug 24: Appealing to Anna Hazare to end his fast, the government today said it has forwarded Jan Lokpal Bill to Parliament's Standing Committee for consideration and it is up to it to take a decision.
“We have forwarded Jan Lokpal Bill to the Standing Committee for its consideration. It is for the Committee to decide,” Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy said in the Rajya Sabha.
Winding up a short duration discussion on the issue of corruption, he said the government has an “open mind” on the Jan Lokpal Bill.
On the issue of inclusion of Prime Minister under the ambit of the proposed legislation, Narayanasamy said Manmohan Singh himself was open to the idea.
Appealing to Hazare to end his nine-day-old fast, he said the Gandhian should help the government bring a strong and effective Lokpal Bill.
He, however, said Parliament is supreme. “Parliament and the rule of law should be upheld by the government,” he said.
Narayanasamy said Parliament was the only forum where the Lokpal Bill can be debated and passed.
He said Lokpal Bill alone cannot end corruption and the government was in the process of bringing in several other legislations to tackle the problem.
Earlier, intervening in the debate Commerce and Industries Minister Anand Sharma said though people have fundamental right to “dissent”, they cannot be allowed to “subvert” Constitution.
“Democracy should not be replaced by lynching mob,” he said, apparently referring to the agitation in front of houses of MPs and ministers by Hazare's supporters.
The Government, he said, is aware of public anger against corruption and is addressing the issue within constitutional framework after following due process and procedures.
But, he said “Parliament is supreme and effort to denigrate its prestige will not be tolerated.”
Noting that the Lokpal Bill alone would not end the problem, Narayanasamy emphasised on the need for proper education of the people on the issue.
He said out of 40 basic points of the Jan Lokpal Bill, the government has incorporated 34 and there is “disagreement” on six issues only.
The six issues include whether to have a single Act for both Centre and the state, inclusion of Prime Minister, Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court and conduct of MPs inside the Parliament, he said.
BJP deputy leader in Rajya Sabha S S Ahluwalia, however, said there has been “disapproval” on 27 points.
To eradicate corruption there should be concerted efforts by the Centre and the state governments and stake holders, including corporates, Narayanasamy said.
He asserted that the government was doing everything to bring an effective anti-corruption legislation taking into account all relevant opinions and pointed out that the Prime Minister has appealed to Hazare to end his fast. He also convened an all party meeting today to find a solution.
He admitted that corruption is prevailing at lower as well as higher levels and the government has to do a lot more to end the menace.
He appealed to all parties to cooperate in enactment of an effective anti-graft legislation.
Anand Sharma said all shades of opinion will be honoured in enactment of an effective legislation against corruption while referring to the three sets of drafts on Lokpal Bill presented by the Government, the civil society group and by activist Aruna Roy. PTI