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Govt agrees to disclose audio recordings of Lokpal panel

Source: PTI
October 09, 2011 14:39 IST
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The government has now agreed to make public the audio recordings of proceedings of the joint drafting committee constituted to draft the Lokpal Bill.

The Department of Personnel and Training had earlier refused to bring out the deliberations of the committee in public domain.

The joint drafting committee, comprising five members of Team Anna and an equal number of Cabinet ministers, was formed to finalise the draft of the Lokpal Bill.

Earlier, responding to an RTI query, the DoPT had said that they require the nod of law ministry to make public audio recordings of the close-door meetings between the government and Team Anna.

"Joint drafting committee was constituted by notification of the ministry of law and justice wherein JDC was supposed to evolve its own procedure. It may be further noted that the matter relating to RTI queries on audio- recordings of JDC has been referred to department of legal affairs in ministry of law and justice for clarification," an RTI response from DoPT had said.

In its recent reply, the department seems to have changed its mind and asked activist S C Agrawal to deposit Rs 450 as additional fee for providing the audio recordings of the deliberations.

"The audio recordings of the meetings of the joint drafting committee for drafting the Lokpal Bill have now become available with the undersigned. There are nine CDs and you may deposit copying fee of Rs 450 so that copies of the CDs can be supplied to you," Under Secretary of DoPT, Amarjit Singh wrote.

Agrawal had sought to know from the personnel department the audio recordings of the proceedings of the committee in the form of CDs.

The department said it has posted details of the proceedings in the form of minutes on its website but the audio recordings were not available with it.

The committee, constituted on April 10, included Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram, the then Law Minister Veerappa Moily, Telecom and HRD Minister Kapil Sibal and Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed.

The civil society members included Anna Hazare, Justice N Santosh Hedge, Shanti Bhushan, Prashan Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal.

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