The government came under attack from several parties on Sunday for “bypassing” the “established procedures” of law-making and involving civil society in preparing the draft of the Lokpal Bill.
However, Team Anna’s version of the Lokpal Bill found no supporters at the all-party meeting, which adopted a one-line resolution that said “the government should bring before the next session of Parliament a strong and effective Lokpal Bill following the established procedures.”
There were also few takers for Anna Hazare’s deadline for passing the legislation in the next session, as even the BJP favoured its passage in the winter session of Parliament after introducing it in the monsoon session.
Barring the DMK and INLD, which favoured inclusion of the Prime Minister and the higher judiciary within the Lokpal’s ambit, Team Anna’s demands found little support. Only the VCK of Tamil Nadu wanted the Jan Lokpal Bill to be adopted.
Setting the tone of the meeting, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his opening remarks, said that the institution of the Lokpal has to be placed in the matrix of “checks and balances” provided in the Constitution.
“The institution of the Lokpal has to work in harmony with other institutions and laws and it has to function within the framework of the basic structure of our Constitution. It has to add to and not detract from the legitimate role and authority of other institutions in our democratic structure. The Constitution provides for an intricate system of checks and balances and the new institution of Lokpal has to find an appropriate place in that matrix,” he said.