Parliament's panel on Lokpal bill concludes deliberations

The parliamentary panel on the Lokpal bill ended its deliberations on Wednesday on the proposed legislation, but with sharp divisions between political parties over three key issues including that of bringing the prime minister under the ambit of the ombudsman.

Abhishek Manu SinghviAbhishek Manu Singhvi, chairman of parliament's standing committee on law, justice, personnel and public grievances, said there were three different points of view on this contentious issue.

One section wanted the prime minister to be kept out of the purview of the Lokpal, another wanted him to be brought under its ambit, and a third section felt the prime minister should be brought under the Lokpal after he demits office.

Singhvi said the panel would consider all these views before finalising its report and submitting it to parliament on 7 December.

While the Congress was willing to include the prime minister under the anti-corruption body's ambit, but only after he remits office, the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham are opposed to the inclusion of the premier. The Bharatiya Janata Party and the left parties, however, want him to be brought under the watchdog's purview.

According to Singhvi, the standing committee met for about 40 hours, spread across 15 meetings, and heard about 140 people who gave their views. He claimed there was a wide consensus cutting across political parties. However, the dissenting views of members would be reflected in the final report of the committee, he added.