Civil society members of the joint committee on the drafting of the Lokpal Bill have invited the government representatives for a public debate on the six contentious issues they could not resolve at Monday's meeting of the panel.
In a letter, committee co-chairman and senior advocate Shanti Bhushan has invited Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who heads the committee, to participate in a national debate, which the civil society members intend to hold on June 5, a day ahead of the committee's next meeting. The letter says it is necessary to educate people on the pros and cons of the six issues on which he has sought the opinion of the stakeholders.
The debate is likely to be telecast live by several national and regional television channels and it will help people form an informed opinion.
Pointing out that except Justice Santosh Hegde, the four other civil society members will take part in the debate, Mr. Bhushan has underlined the usefulness of the participation of all five government nominees.
He has also offered to change the date if June 5 does not suit Mr. Mukherjee. Even if all five Union Ministers could not make it to the debate, at least a few of them should.
Mr. Bhushan has also offered to mutually decide the format and other details of the debate.
Mr. Bhushan has proposed to invite the former Chief Justice of India, J.S. Verma, to preside over the discussion, or anyone else of his choice.
However, he has clarified that he is yet to contact Mr. Justice Verma.