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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lokpal: no consensus on fundamental issues

In the absence of any convergence of opinion on fundamental issues, government representatives and civil society members decided on Wednesday to conclude the deliberations and present their separate Bills on the structure and provisions of the Lokpal to the Union government.
Emerging from the seventh meeting of the Joint Drafting Committee on the Lokpal Bill, the two sides admitted to fundamental differences on crucial issues and their inability to break the deadlock and conclude the proceedings ahead of the June 30 deadline set by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The committee will meet, perhaps for the last time, on June 20 and 21 when the civil society members as well as the government representatives will come up with their draft Bills and make the last effort at building a consensus on the contentious issues.
Strong divergence
Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said there were areas of strong divergence of opinions, so it was decided to get the version of social activist Anna Hazare and his team for a discussion at the next meeting, where the government, too, would place its version of the Bill. If no consensus emerged, he said, both versions would be placed before the Union Cabinet.
RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal and senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, the other civil society members of the committee, said the two draft Bills would be presented to the Cabinet, which would decide on accepting either of the two or to make modifications as it might deem suitable before presenting it to Parliament, which the government promised to do during the monsoon session starting in July.
Significantly, none of the six contentious issues, which had created an impasse at the May 30 meeting, figured at Wednesday's talks. 
The Hindu

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