Friday, March 8, 2013

Lokpal Bill—Key Highlights of revised Bill

On January 31, 2013, the Union Cabinet cleared the new revised Lokpal Bill with measures such as bringing the Central Bureau of Investigation under the Lokpal supervision and leaving the appointment of Lokayuktas to the States. The key highlights of the revised Bill are:
—The phrase ‘connected with political parties’ to be replaced with ‘affiliated with political parties’.
—Fifth member of the Selection Committee (i.e. eminent jurist) to be nominated by the President on recommendation of the other four members of the Selection Committee, viz. Prime Minister, Speaker (Lok Sabha), Leader of Opposition (Lok Sabha) and Chief Justice of India.
—Government has decided to exempt only such bodies or authorities established, constituted or appointed by or under any Central or State or Provincial Act providing for administration of public religious or charitable trusts or endowments or societies for religious or charitable purposes registered under the Societies Registration Act.
—Political parties exempt from the purview of the Lokpal Bill 2011, as they are already covered under the Representation of People’s Act.
—Lokpal can order investigation against a public servant, in case a prima facie case exists, after calling for explanation from the public servant.
—Opportunity to be given to public servant to be heard.
—Lokpal to have power to grant sanction for prosecution of public servants.
—Amendments for strengthening CBI accepted, except the one which seeks approval of Lokpal for transfer of officers of CBI investigating cases referred by Lokpal.