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Consensus evades Lokpal, confirms Jaitley

New Delhi, Fri, 23 Mar 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Mar 23 (ANI): Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley on Friday said a consensus was built completely against the government's proposals on the Lokpal Bill during the all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

"Well, I saw a very large consensus in the all-party meeting of four leaders in the Rajya Sabha, which the honourable Prime Minister had called. And the consensus was completely against the government or at least against the government's proposals in the bill, which had been introduced and passed by the Lok Sabha. Almost all political parties felt that federal structure in India doesn't have to be dismantled because the Lokyukta provisions are to be enacted," Jaitley told media here after the all-party meeting on Lokpal.

"The Centre can either have a model law or a draft law and give the option to the states because dealing with services of the states is exclusively within the domain of the states in our constitutional scheme. Most participants felt that the investigating agency, which will investigate cases of corruption, should be independent and outside governmental control and should have some administrative relationship only with the Lokpal institution, which is created," he added.

Jaitley said there were doubts, which were raised about the government's draft proposals in relation to the powers of investigation.

"The appointment and removal provisions should not be dominated by the government," he added.

The BJP leader further said some members felt that the private organizations, which don't receive grants from the government, should be kept out of the Lokpal ambit.

Jaitley said that there were also doubts as to whether there should be an intrusive institution to start investigating private institutions, which do not receive grants from the government like schools, religious institutions and NGOs.

Jaitley said the Lokpal Bill should be brought up in the Budget Session of Parliament.

"Our view is that a lot of consultations have already occurred; now it should be brought in the Budget Session," he said.

Rajya Sabha leaders including senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley met at the Prime Minister's official 7, Race Course Road residence, here to discuss the bill, to which 97 amendments have been moved by Opposition members in the Upper House.

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Union Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid were present in the meeting.

The Prime Minister's decision to hold the meeting came in the backdrop of divergent views of different political parties.

The Lokpal Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in Winter Session of Parliament in December 2011.

The Rajya Sabha broke up for recess on December 29, 2011 without voting on the bill to create a Lokpal before the deadline set by Anna Hazare, who led a campaign for the measure. It could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha on the last day of the session for want of time, as there were a lot of amendments.

The opposition in the Rajya Sabha has asked the government to set a date for the discussion of the Bill and on amendments related to the Bill. (ANI)

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