After initially appearing wary of disclosing the audio recordings of the joint Lokpal drafting committee,the government has now agreed to make public the tapes of the proceedings. The committee comprising five members of Team Anna and five senior Cabinet ministers met for nine times over a period of three months but ended without a common text.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) had earlier sought the advice of the Law Ministry on making the recordings of the closed-door proceedings public after an RTI applicant sought the tapes. Responding to the RTI query,the DoPT had argued that the committee was constituted by a notification of the Ministry of Law and Justice and the matter has been referred to it for clarification.
Now,the DoPT has informed RTI applicant Subhash Chandra Agarwal that the audio recordings of the deliberations of the committee were in its possession and would be made available to him. The DoPT in a communication to Agarwal said there were nine CDs which can be supplied to him on payment of copying charges.
Members of the Team Anna had in the first meeting of the joint drafting committee itself demanded that the entire proceedings be video graphed,but government representatives rejected the demand and had agreed to allow audio recordings. But the general belief was that only the minutes of the meeting and not the audio tapes would be made public.
Reacting to the government decision,Agarwal said at a time when prominent Union ministers are criticising the use of RTI,it is indeed a welcome decision of the Union Government to provide the audio tapes.
Kiran Bedi,a Team Anna member,wanted the government to publish the transcript of the proceedings on its website. It will be good to have the script…We will exactly know what was said and done, she said.