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Lokpal Select Committee report likely in RS on Friday Last Updated : 22 Nov 2012 10:35:14 PM IST File photo of head of Select Committee on Lokpal Bill Satyavrat Chaturvedi.
After its passage in the Lok Sabha last year, the bill faced opposition hurdles in the Rajya Sabha on various provisions, following which it was referred to the Select Committee. The panel, which was to submit its report during the monsoon session, adopted it on November 19.
The Department of Personnel and Training, which piloted the bill, will have to approach the Union Cabinet on the recommendations made by the committee.
Once the bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha, it will travel back to the Lok Sabha for approval of the amended version.
Despite suggestions by the Law Ministry during depositions before the Committee suggesting 'insulation' to officials of the PMO, the Committee, headed by Satyavrat Chaturvedi, has not recommended any changes.
The Prime Minister, who is sought to be covered by the proposed law, is, however, exempted from the ambit of Lokpal on issues of external and internal security, atomic energy, international relations and public order.
The Select Committee is learnt to have not recommended any change in the provision relating to "reservation".
The original provision said 'not less than 50 per cent of the members of Lokpal would be from SC, ST, OBC, minorities and women.
The Committee's report said "these provisions merely aim at providing representation to the diverse sections of the society in the institution of Lokpal..."and only indicates "the quantum of representation and not reservation".
BJP has strong reservations about the provision and is understood to have given a "suggestion note" opposing reservation in the measure.
There was a strong view in the Committee that such a provision does not have a constitutional basis.
However, considering the Articles in the Constitution that provide for reservation, the Committee said the provisions in the bill merely aim at providing representation to diverse sections of society in the institution of Lokpal and the rules of reservation are not involved in this case.
"Accordingly, the Committee does not not recommend any change in the proviso to Clause 3(2)(b)...," the report said.
Select Committee report on Lokpal likely in RS on Friday:
While delinking the creation of Lokayuktas at the national and state levels, the panel has said state governments will have to set up their own ombudsman through enactment of law by state legislatures within one year of of this law going into force.
The Committee's recommendation is seen as a major concession to opposition parties and UPA allies which had termed the original provision as an attack on the federal structure saying state governments should be free to enact their own law regarding state-level ombudsman.
Partially accepting suggestions made by parties like BJP and JD(U) on making CBI independent of government control, the Select Committee is learnt to have recommended that its chief be appointed by a collegium comprising of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India.
It also recommended that CBI should have a separate Directorate of Prosecution under a Director who should function under the agency chief. It said the Director of Prosecution should be appointed by the CVC.
CBI officers investigating cases referred by Lokpal will only be transferred by the approval of the anti-corruption watchdog.
The Committee said the power of superintendence and direction of CBI in relation to Lokpal referred cases must vest in Lokpal.
On the issue of suspension of the Chairman or a member of Lokpal, government was of the view that since President is the appointing authority, he should have the power to remove.
The members in the committee said that instead of it being an executive decision, there should be "judicial application of mind".
The panel also recommended that NGOs getting direct support in the form of funds from the government be covered by Lokpal.
Source: IANS, Other Agencies, Staff Reporters
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