The Congress on Monday hoped that a comprehensive Lokpal Bill would be ready by the winter session of Parliament. The Constitutional status for the institution of Lokpal, as suggested by Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, was the “ultimate desirable destination,” it said.
The party said that working under deadlines would not be in the interest of the people. It dismissed the view that Mr. Gandhi's suggestion would delay its creation.
“As far as it is possible, a comprehensive and appropriate bill should be ready before the winter session…Congress wants a comprehensive and strong Lokpal Bill,” party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said. The suggestion did not prevent Lokpal from being a statutory body for the present.
Mr. Singhvi, who also heads the Standing Committee tasked with scrutinising the Bill, said the panel would consider all vital inputs, including the Sense of the House resolutions passed by both the Houses last week before reporting the Bill back to Parliament for its consideration and passing.
Asked whether Mr. Gandhi's suggestion would be considered by the Standing Committee, he said all suggestions and views were important and it would look into them with equal importance.
Mr. Singhvi said it was time to put the past behind and look ahead. He expressed confidence that the collective will of all stakeholders, including political parties and the government, would sustain the momentum and direction to give the strongest possible Lokpal.
Asked about the party's stand on larger issues of electoral reforms, including the right to recall being suggested by social activist Anna Hazare, he said the issues being raised “are both complex and complicated” that required careful scrutiny and discussions with political parties.
Party MP Praveen Singh Aron, who had submitted the Jan Lokpal Bill to the Standing Committee, has asked for a probe into the manner in which the Hazare issues were dealt with. He wrote a letter to Mr. Gandhi suggesting an inquiry into whether it was done with intent to cause damage both to a “visionary” Prime Minister and prevent Mr. Gandhi from becoming the Prime Minister, or if it was just a mistake.
Keywords: Lokpal Bill