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Lokpal: Panel yet to take final call on contentious issue

Sunday, 4 November 2012 - 6:39pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI
The Lokpal Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha but encountering obstacles in the Rajya Sabha, could see government accepting demands of the Opposition keeping in mind the delicate number game in the House.

The passage of the much-hyped Lokpal bill seems to be a long haul as a Parliamentary panel is yet to take a final call on several contentious issues.

The Lokpal Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha but encountering obstacles in the Rajya Sabha, could see government accepting demands of the Opposition keeping in mind the delicate number game in the House.

Sources in both the Rajya Sabha select committee on Lokpal and the government told PTI the bill which the Rajya Sabha will pass will have to retain certain basic features of the one okayed by the Lower House as according to rules, it will have to travel back to the Lok Sabha after amendments to it are cleared by the Upper House.

Even if the panel is able to give its report next month, much will depend on how fast the government incorporates these before the end of the winter session on December 20.

The Parliamentary panel had recently asked the Law Ministry to explain whether Parliament has powers to pass a bill that makes it mandatory for states to set up Lokayuktas.

With the Law Ministry yet to give an opinion, sources said the government could suggest a model bill for states for setting up Lokayuktas.

Another contentious issue is whether the Lokpal could conduct a preliminary probe into all complaints to be received by it.

The Opposition has opposed a provision that the Lokpal bill be allowed to receive complaints against NGOs, trusts and societies.

At the same time, Opposition and UPA members are united that besides the Prime Minister, his key officials should be kept out of the ambit of Lokpal on issues such as national security and atomic energy.

Both have agreed to a Law Ministry suggestion that the bill should be amended to insulate such officials from a probe by the Lokpal.

With numbers not on its side in the Rajya Sabha, the government may accept certain demands made by the Opposition, the sources said.




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