Cabinet clears Lokpal changes, Lokayuktas clause dropped

Rajya Sabha

Significantly, the government will propose that the fifth member of the selection committee - who will be an eminent jurist - would be recommended by the other four members: the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha speaker, leader of the opposition and chief justice of India. The opposition has been demanding such consultation to ensure that the panel is not government-dominated.

Political parties will be exempt from the purview of the Lokpall Bill 2011. "They are already covered under the Representation of People's Act," Narayanasamy said. The government has decided against accepting the select committee's recommendation to drop the clause that provided for bringing bodies and institutions, including NGOs, receiving donations from the public under the purview of the Lokpal.

"Government has decided to exempt only such bodies or authorities established, constituted or appointed by or under any Central or state or provincial act providing for administration of public religious or charitable trusts or endowments or societies for religious or charitable purposes registered under the Societies Registration Act," an official statement said.

"Charitable institutions or schools which have got government land would be excluded from the purview of the Lokpal Bill. But those institutions which receive funds from the government will come under the purview," Narayanasamy said.

Among the other important recommendations of the select committee the government has accepted are setting up of a separate directorate of prosecution for the CBI under the overall control of the CBI director, the appointment of the director of prosecution to be made on the recommendation of the Central Vigilance Commission, and having a panel of lawyers appointed with the consent of the Lokpal to handle Lokpal-referred cases.

However, the recommendation that the approval of Lokpal was necessary to transfer CBI officers investigating cases referred by Lokpal was not accepted. Narayanasamy said such a provision would affect the smooth functioning and autonomy of the CBI. After getting a nod from the Upper House, the amended bill will go back to the Lok Sabha for fresh approval.

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