The Centre on Wednesday said it had forwarded the Jan Lokpal Bill to Parliament's Standing Committee for consideration and now it was up to the committee to take a decision. Giving this information while winding up a short duration discussion in the Rajya Sabha on corruption, Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions V. Narayanasamy said the government had an “open mind” on the Jan Lokpal Bill presented by social activist Anna Hazare and his team.
Urging Mr. Hazare to end his fast, Mr. Narayanasamy said even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was open to the idea of bringing the Prime Minister within the ambit of the Lokpal. “Anna Hazare should help the government in framing a strong and effective Lokpal Bill,” he added.
Underlining that Parliament was supreme, the Minister said: “Parliament is the only forum where the Lokpal Bill can be debated and passed… Parliament and the rule of law should be upheld by the government.” He was responding to the majority view that Parliament was the only place where a Bill could be passed and the Standing Committee has all the right to discuss it and give suggestions.
“We have taken several initiatives to tackle corruption. The Lokpal Bill alone cannot end corruption and the government is in the process of bringing in other legislation to tackle the problem,” he told the House.
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said though people had the fundamental right to dissent, but they could not be allowed to subvert the Constitution. “The government is aware of public anger against corruption and is addressing the issue within the constitutional framework after following due process and procedures. Parliament is supreme and the effort to denigrate its prestige will not be tolerated,” he said.