NEW DELHI: The government may soon call an all-party meeting to seek views from across the political spectrum even as it prima facie ruled out including the Prime Minister within the ambit of the Lokpal Bill until at least he demits office.
The move to convene the meeting came Saturday after the high level Congress Core Group’s parleys, second in 24 hours, decided on their strategy with the demand for including the Prime Minister remaining a major sticking point with the civil society.
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and Congress president, Ms Sonia Gandhi were among others who were at the parleys. The civil society representatives led by Mr Anna Hazare is pitching for inclusion of the Prime Minister as also higher judiciary in the proposed Lokpal Bill during meetings of the Joint Committee to draft the measure which will be meeting again on June 20 and 21.
The Human Resource Department Minister, Mr Kapil Sibal, one of the government representatives on the joint drafting committee, made clear their opposition to bringing the post of Prime Minister under the purview of Lokpal till he demits office. Mr Sibal also ruled out opening the conduct of MPs inside Parliament as also the higher judiciary to the scrutiny of the proposed ombudsman.
“Within the government, we feel prima facie the Prime Minister should not be covered (under the Lokpal). But at the same time we want to make sure that if he demits office, he should not be exonerated from prosecution,” he said. Mr Sibal said government will discuss the draft Lokpal Bill with political parties before it goes to the Union cabinet for approval. “The government will seek the views of political parties and chief ministers on the draft bill before it goes to the cabinet. Whatever agreements or disagreements on the draft are there will be presented before parties,” he said.