Jaitley questions govt on Lokpal Bill

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley Friday voiced his objections to the government's decision on the revised version of Lokpal Bill on four main counts.

On the first count, Jaitley, who was also a member of the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha that scrutinised the Bill, objected to the government's decision to put an obligation that a "notice to be given to a public servant by the Lokpal before he embarks upon consideration of the complaint against the public servant", saying that it is a "destructive" proposal. He said it would provide an opportunity to the person under scrutiny to "remove the entire evidence".

In a signed article, Jaitley reasoned that "the right of the public servant to be heard is only at the stage of trial and not otherwise".

He also objected to the decision that allows the change of Investigating Officer without the Lokpal's approval, saying it will grant government the "discretion" to remove any officer "inconvenient for the powers that be". "Removing him and replacing him with a pliable officer cannot be the discretion of the government."

He reiterated the BJP's objections against the reservation in the Lokpal on the basis of "religion" and also criticised government's reluctance to accept his suggestions made in the Select Committee to bar the CBI directors from taking any post-retirement jobs in government. "A CBI Director should not be eligible for re-employment in the government. The desire of a future favour can be destructive of his independence."

The BJP is likely to raise all these four objections during the discussion on the Lokpal Bill in the Budget session.

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