The BJP is of the view that passage of the Lokpal Bill in the current session of Parliament (which is scheduled to end on December 22) has become doubtful after the divided report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel and Law and Justice.
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, referring to notes of dissent on several issues by 17 of the 30 members said it not only reflected sharp divisions among political parties on a number of points, but also raised questions over the ‘credibility of the political class'.
The report did not incorporate three specific subjects articulated in the ‘sense of the House' resolution adopted by Parliament to persuade social activist Anna Hazare to give up his fast.
On August 27, Parliament urged the committee to consider the ‘sense of the House' resolution moved by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, which read: “This House agrees ‘in principle' on the following issues — (i) citizens' charter, (ii) lower bureaucracy under Lokpal through an appropriate mechanism, and (iii) establishment of Lokayuktas in the States.”
Without referring to anyone in particular on the committee, the BJP leader termed the report a “lawyer's draft, which has ignored political and social wisdom.”
“There seems to be an attempt to make the report so complicated that passage of the Bill becomes difficult. I feel this is the intention behind some of the proposals in the report. It has ignored the political and social wisdoms and got involved in legalisms,” he said.
The BJP would insist on the inclusion of points made in the note of dissent given by its members to the committee chairman.
“The party is against exclusion of the Prime Minister, Citizens' Charter and lower bureaucracy from the ambit of the Lokpal,” he said.
Asked whether there was any scope for flexibility by the BJP on the issues flagged by its members on the committee, Mr. Jaitley said the party could not be expected to go back on the ‘sense of the House' motion of Parliament.
The report would hurt the credibility of the government and further undermine the moral authority of the UPA.
Mr. Jaitley lamented that the report had given an additional tool in the hands of those who felt that this government did not keep its word.
Mr. Jaitley said the BJP wanted the CBI to be independent and autonomous. “It wants the CBI director appointed not by the government but by a collegium comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Chairperson, Lokpal, and delinking the investigative and prosecution wings of the agency.”