Former Union law minister and civil activist Shanti Bhushan has urged the government to hold an open debate on the Lokpal Bill so that the people of India get to know the stance taken by the various members of the drafting committee.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, chairman of the Lokpal Bill Drafting committee, is yet to respond to Bhushan's demand.
Bhushan, who is one of the five representatives of the civil society on the panel, said the government was backtracking on a number of issues, including bringing the Prime Minister's Office under the Lokpal Bill's purview.
"There are a number of contentious issues on which the government is not coming forth with a positive response. We have asked for an open debate so that the people of India can see for themselves what the government's response is on these matters," Bhushan said.
According to him, the people's representatives have been pressing for the inclusion of the PMO and the judiciary within the ambit of the Lokpal Bill. They have also sought permission to proceed against those who hold the rank of joint secretary and above.
Meanwhile, Justice Santosh Hegde, the top anti-corruption official in Karnataka, has questioned the Centre's decision to send senior ministers to the Delhi airport to meet Baba Ramdev, who is threatening to go on an indefinite hunger strike till the government announces its intention to repatriate black money stashed in foreign banks.
"The government did dot give the same response to Anna Hazare when he was pressing for the stringent Lokpal Bill," he said.