Amid protests, Govt introduces Lok Pal bill

December 22, 2011 18:28
Amid protests, Govt introduces Lok Pal bill

Amid strong protests from the Opposition benches and Anna Team crusading for a strong Lok Pal bill, the Government today introduced in Lok Sabha its revised Lok Pal bill for curbing corruption in public life.

Introducing the 64-page bill in the house, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Narayana Swamy said the House will take up discussion on the bill on Dec 27. He also announced the extension of the winter session till Dec 29.

While UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi appealed to the Opposition BJP and Anna Team to accept the bill, Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Rastriya Janata Dal (RJD) have objected to the absence of reservation provision for minorities in the Lok Pal bench.

The bill envisages 50 per cent reservation for SC, ST, OBC and women in the Lok Pal bench but makes no mention of minorities.

After RJD leader Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav launched a blistering attack on the Government for giving no reservation to Muslims, the Government changed its mind and included minorities also in the reservation group. However, this was opposed by the BJP leader Sushma Swaraj.

Earlier, Lalu accused the Government of conspiring with the BJP and removing Muslims from the reservation category.

Provisions of the draft bill

The bill says that CBI director will be selected by a three-member committee consisting of the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court Judge nominated by him.

For this purpose, the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 that guides the CBI functioning presently will be amended.

The Bill keeps the CBI out of the Lok Pal’s full control. The Lok Pal will have provision for superintendence over CBI in corruption cases referred by it to the investigation agency.  And it can’t order CBI to probe each and every case. The Centre will choose the cases to be referred to the Lok Pal and in such cases only it can order CBI to probe.

Jurisdiction of the Lok Pal

While the Lok Pal brings Prime Minister under its purview with certain safeguards, Chairperson and members of the Lok Pal will be selected by a committee comprising the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India and an eminent jurist nominated by the President of India.

In case of Lokayuktas in states, the selection committee will consist of the Chief Minister, Speaker of assembly, Leader of Opposition, Chief Justice or Judge of the High Court and an eminent jurist nominated by the Governor.

The jurisdiction of the Lok pal will include Prime Minister, Ministers, Members of Parliament, Groups A, B, C and D officers and officials of Central Government. Matters pending before any court or committee or authority for inquiry before Lok Pal will not be affected.

Anna rejects bill

Anti corruption crusader Anna Hazare slammed the bill and rejected it saying it was a betrayal of nation. “It can’t curb corruption in the country,” he said. “How can you call it strong when CBI was kept out of the Lok Pal’s jurisdiction?” he asked.

Anna has already threatened to go on a three-day fast from Dec 27 demanding a stronger Lok Pal bill. (JUBS)

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