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Govt can take joint House panel route to break deadlock

As the impasse over the Lokpal Bill continues,a possible way forward could lie in forming a select or joint committee of Parliament.

Written by PranabDhalSamanta | New Delhi |
August 25, 2011 2:55:50 am

As the impasse over the Lokpal Bill continues,a possible way forward could lie in forming a select or joint committee of Parliament instead of referring the matter to the Standing Committee whose recommendations are not binding on the government.

A similar method was used for the Prevention of Money Laundering Act when it was first introduced in 1999. At that time,there were strong sentiments expressed in Rajya Sabha over the stringent provisions in the government draft.

As a result,then finance minister Yashwant Sinha agreed to let the Bill be referred to a select committee of the Rajya Sabha which submitted its report to the House,and the amendments were accepted.

The key difference between a select committee and a standing committee is that the former does not need to be referred back to the government. A standing committee report,however,is treated as a set of recommendations that go back to the government,which is at liberty to accept or reject them.

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In case of a select committee,the primary authority is with the Parliament and any changes can only be made on the floor of the House. A joint committee can be formed as the provision exists in rules and procedures of both Houses — Rule 72 in Rajya Sabha and Rule 298 in Lok Sabha.

The key political advantage of this committee in the current context would be the diminishing role of the government in influencing the final version of the Bill.

The contents,sources said,will be placed before both Houses of Parliament which can debate and pass the law — without any specific time-frame.

A joint or select committee can invite suggestions from any group or section of the society and make its own assessment.

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