A decision on whether to bring PM under its purview will be decided by Cabinet

The government was ready with the Lokpal Bill and it would be placed before the Cabinet for approval next week, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal told journalists on Friday.

“The Bill is ready and the Cabinet will take it up next week… a decision on whether to bring the Prime Minister under its purview will be decided by the Cabinet,” Mr. Sibal said.

Mr. Sibal, however, pointed out that the draft Bill prepared by the committee, comprising five Union Ministers, was against bringing Prime Minister under the Lokpal. It was for the Cabinet to take a final decision on it. The government was committed to tabling the draft Bill in the monsoon session of Parliament next month.

Mr. Sibal said, “As promised by the UPA government, we are committed to curbing corruption… Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had made a promise to the nation on the Lokpal Bill and the government will deliver on that promise. We hope that the Bill will be passed by Parliament unanimously as the government has incorporated suggestions and addressed concerns raised by the Opposition parties.”

Referring to the draft Bill prepared by civil society activists led by social activist Anna Hazare that has recommended bringing Prime Minister within the ambit of the Lokpal, Mr. Sibal said, “some suggestions were given during the all-party meeting on the issue….when the matter comes up before the Cabinet, the government will decide.”

Asked what type of case the Lokpal would investigate, Mr. Sibal said the Bill had provisions whereby any matter not being investigated by an agency like the Central Bureau of Investigation could be taken by the Lokpal.

Referring to the objections being raised by civil society members, he said when the Bill went to the Standing Committee, they could submit their suggestions and views before Parliament.

“The Lokpal Bill is coming… we all want that a strong legislation should come in Parliament so that all these corruption issues being raised are handed over to the Lokpal,” Mr. Sibal said. He hoped that all parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party would support it.

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