To get Lokpal passed, Centre drops lokayukta clause

FP

The ministry has also accepted the recommendation of the select committee on the fifth member of the Lokpal Selection committee, who would have to be an eminent jurist, nominated by the President on the recommendation of the first four members of the selection committee — the prime minister, Lok Sabha speaker, leader of opposition in the Lower House, and the chief justice of India.

In order to try and get the Bill passed in the Budget Session, the DoPT has also done away with inter-ministerial consultations, taking the plea that it has held wide-ranging consultations with the Law Ministry and incorporated most of the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha panel.

Among other clauses, the select committee had recommended de-linking the creation of Lokayuktas in states from the Lokpal Bill. This contentious clause was one of the main reasons many political parties, including some UPA allies, opposed the Bill, terming it an attack on the federal structure.

The Cabinet note moved by the Ministry of Personnel says that the ministry has decided to accept all recommendations of the Select Committee vis-a-vis the functioning of the CBI, except one seeking that transfer of officers investigating cases referred to the CBI by the Lokpal only be done with the prior approval of the Lokpal.

Also, while the select committee had recommended that the clause that provides that a public servant be given a hearing by the Lokpal before an investigation is ordered against him be dispensed with, the ministry has taken a contrary view, saying this would result in "harassment of the public servant".

The ministry has also accepted the recommendation of the select committee with regard to giving the power to sanction prosecution of a public servant to the Lokpal.

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