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Lokpal Bill back in Rajya Sabha with half a dozen amendments

Saturday, 24 November 2012 - 5:02am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

The Rajya Sabha select committee, formed to look into the Lokpal Bill, tabled its report in the house on Friday.

The Rajya Sabha select committee, formed to look into the Lokpal Bill, tabled its report in the house on Friday.

The committee has suggested several changes including that of making the CBI more independent, the conditional inclusion of the prime minister under the Lokpal, and the mandatory setting up of Lokayuktas by state governments within a year of the Lokpal Act coming into force.

Satyavrat Chaturvedi, chairman of the commitee, told the media that the changes will have to be passed in the Rajya Sabha. “A select committee does not give just a report, but also amends the bill. The bill will now be presented in the Rajya Sabha as amended by the select committee,” Chaturvedi said.

He said the government will not have to consider the amendments proposed by the committee and the bill “as amended” by the panel will come up for discussion. Chaturvedi said the bill passed by Parliament will be a “model legislation” for states to follow. The committee was set up at the beginning of the budget session earlier this year.

Once the bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha will have to pass the amended version. Chaturvedi said the committee had discussed the bill clause by clause.

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Acknowledging the contribution of Arun Jaitley, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, he said the BJP leader helped and guided the committee with his legal expertise.

While the bill passed by the Lok Sabha provides for an eminent person in the selection committee to be appointed by the president, the panel has recommended that the appointment of such a person based on the recommendations of the first four members of the committee — prime minister, Lok Sabha speaker, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, and the chief justice of India.

The committee has also recommended streamlining the procedure for conduct of preliminary inquiry and investigation by the Lokpal. It said the ombudsman, on receipt of a complaint, is authorised to directly order investigation where there exists a prima facie case.

Partially accepting suggestions made by parties like the BJP and the JD(U) on making CBI independent of government control, the select committee has recommended that its chief be appointed by a collegium comprising the PM, leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, and the chief justice.

It also recommended that the 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.

On the issue of suspension of chairman or member of Lokpal, the 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”.

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