To get Lokpal passed, Centre drops lokayukta clause

FP

To ensure smooth passage for the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011, in the forthcoming budget session of Parliament, the government is set to drop the contentious 'Part III' relating to setting up of lokayuktas in states.

The Centre has accepted the recommendation of the Rajya Sabha select committee to replace Part III of the Bill with a new Section 63, providing for setting up of lokayuktas in states through enactment of law one year from the date of commencement of the central legislation.

However, the Ministry of Personnel has decided against accepting the 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 proposed Lokpal.

In an important move, the ministry has also decided to do away with the requirement under Section 6A of the Delhi (Special Police) Establishment Act that a competent authority sanction initiation of an inquiry or investigation against any public servant above the rank of joint secretary. As per the new proposal, in Lokpal-referred cases, such a sanction would not be required.

The ministry's Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has decided on 11 official amendments that it intends to introduce to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011, which is struck in the Rajya Sabha after being cleared by the Lok Sabha on December 27, 2011. The Cabinet is scheduled to take a call on the amendments at its meeting on January 31. The amendments have already been cleared by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is also the minister in-charge of the Ministry of Personnel.

Among other important recommendations of the select committee that the ministry 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.

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