The anti-corruption Lokpal draft has been under review since August. Sixteen dissenting notes on different issues constitute some of the highlights. "The problem is nobody seems to be happy with the draft. Anna Hazare and his activists have rejected the committee's recommendations, the Central Bureau of Investigation has objected to them, and even three Congress MPs who were a part of the committee have given notes of dissent," said one of the members of the review panel.
Three congress MPs from the committee -- Meenakshi Natrajan, Deepa Das Munsi and PT Thomas -- formally registered their protest against Group C employees not being brought under Lokpal's ambit
The committee's report is not binding on the government and the cabinet can introduce some points to the existing draft before the bill is presented in the Parliament for adoption. But its content threatens a new confrontation between the government and Anna Team. The 74-year-old anti-corruption crusader has threatened to go on a hunger strike on December 27 if the government does not deliver a potent new law against graft this month.
Team Anna has been demanding inclusion of junior as well as senior bureaucrats within the preview of the Lokpal Bill. It has also been pressing for inclusion of prime minister under Lokpal Bill. "This is one of the non-negotiable demands," said Prashant Bhushan, a Team Anna member.
"I think the recommendations of the (Parliamentary) Standing Committee, whatever they are, will not have any impact on corruption. On the contrary, it is likely to dismantle whatever exists in the name of anti-corruption in this country," added Arvind Kejriwal, a close aide of Hazare.
The bill creates a new independent ombudsman -- a committee of nine members -- who will investigate charges of corruption against government servants. Team Anna has its own version of the bill, called the Jan Lokpal Bill. The Gandhian says the draft of the Lokpal Bill is a betrayal of this assurance.