Cabinet clears revised draft of Lokpal Bill

ANIL ANAND

New Delhi, Jan 31: In a significant development ahead of the coming Budget Session of Parliament, the Union Cabinet on Thursday cleared the new-revised Lokpal Bill despite certain objections raised to the draft Bill by the Law Ministry.
 What is being described as a landmark development, the Centre has also agreed to a proposal of the Department of Personnel on appointment of the CBI chief by an independent collegium comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India.
 The amended bill has exempted from its purview the religious and charitable institutions.
 The political parties too will be kept out of Lokpal.
 The contentious issue of appointment of the appointment of state Lokayuktas has been kept out of the ambit of the Bill.
 The revised bill incorporates a number of changes recommended by the Rajya Sabha Select Committee, including appointment of the Director of Prosecution by the CVC. The earlier Bill had given this power to the Centre.
 “The sections from 63 to 97 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill 2011 will be deleted but will incorporate a provision which insists that respective states will have to pass the Lokayukta Bill within 365 days since the passage of the Lokpal bill in Parliament,” minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, V Narayanaswamy said.
 The cabinet, which accepted 14 of the 16 amendments suggested by the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha, however rejected the panel’s proposal not to allow a public servant to defend himself during a preliminary inquiry against him. “Their views have to heard. It is possible that they have some documents which prove that the allegations against him are wrong,” the minister said. The officials will also get another opportunity at the second stage of the inquiry.
 The new Bill also has provision to provide extra protection to public servants giving them the right to present their view to the Lokpal.
 The government, however, rejected a key recommendation of the panel that an official facing an inquiry by the Lokpal should not be given an opportunity to be heard at the stage of the preliminary inquiry.
 The Select Committee, to which the controversial Bill was referred in view of sharp differences between political parties, has recommended delinking of the creation of Lokayuktas from the Lokpal Bill.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 31 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 31 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 1 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST




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