Cabinet to mull 'diluted' Lokpal bill today news
28 July 2011

The union cabinet will today deliberate on the government's version of the Lokpal bill, to be presented before Parliament in the monsoon session starting 1 August.

As expected, the government's draft excludes from the ambit of the Lokpal, or anti-corruption ombudsman, the prime minister during his tenure and until he demits office.

It also excludes all union ministers, Group A officers, and the higher bureaucracy. Members of Parliament are also exempted on what they say or do in Parliament, and the judiciary has also been kept out of the bill.

This is a big dilution of the bill proposed by crusader Anna Hazare and his 'civil society' team.

As a formality, the draft of the Hazare team will be put as an appendix to the cabinet note. Lawyer Shanti Bhushan has written a letter to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee requesting him to present both the drafts in the parliament.

Hazare contends that the government's version of the Lokpal bill falls "far short" of the people's expectations. He has threatened to go on an indefinite fast from 16 August if a "proper" draft of the bill is not brought before Parliament.

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Cabinet to mull 'diluted' Lokpal bill today