Basic principles of Lokpal Bill not negotiable, says Prashant Bhushan

Last Updated: Mon, May 23, 2011 16:30 hrs

Lokpal Bill joint drafting committee member Prashant Bhushan on Monday said that the basic principles of the Bill were not negotiable.

Bhushan made the comment after the committee comprising five union ministers and social activist Anna Hazare' representatives met here today, the fourth since the committee was formed.

"The basic idea of an empowered Lokpal is that it will have full autonomy, independence from the government, power to investigate complaints of corruption and prosecute all public servants, among other. This principle is non-negotiable. But, so far as the details of the Bill are concerned, most of it is certainly available to discussion and any amendment. So, that is what is being discussed," Bhushan said.

The issues on which panelists differed would be kept aside and discussed in the next meeting, he said.

Social activist Arvind Kejriwal, who was also a part of the meeting, said that inputs from the Indian citizens are also being kept in mind.

"Today we submitted a second document of the basic principle which has been culled out from all the suggestions that we are receiving through public consultation all across the country on our website. For instance, we have already received more than 1,500 suggestions so far. We cull out the important suggestions and place before the joint committee, so our second document was given to us on which we will discuss next time," Kejriwal said.he panel would meet next on May 30.

At the third meeting of the joint drafting committee, there was a general agreement on seven of the 34 points submitted by the civil society members.

There was agreement on empowering the Lokpal to initiate a suo motu probe into the allegations of corruption against ministers, MPs and senior bureaucrats.

Currently, a minister can be prosecuted only after sanction from the Prime Minister. Lok Sabha Speaker or Rajya Sabha Chairman has to give the nod in case of action against MPs. (ANI)