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GoM disfavours scrapping of discretionary powers

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 23:52

New Delhi: A Group of Ministers is
understood to have disfavoured abolition of discretionary
powers of union ministers, a suggestion made by Congress
President Sonia Gandhi at the party plenary here in a bid to
combat corruption.

The GoM, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, is
learnt to have pointed out that in most cases, the
discretionary powers are in fact "powers exercised by the
ministers in performance of their bonafide duties.

"It was felt that in such cases there is a need to
ensure that such powers are exercised under prescribed
guidelines/rules," sources said.

Some of the ministries are yet to respond to the GoM
on discretionary powers being used by them.

Gandhi had during the party plenary in December last
year at Burari here suggested union ministers and chief
ministers give up discreetionary powers as part of her
four-point plan to tackle corruption.

A proposal to give more powers to CBI by amending a
provision of the Act, which governs its functions, has also
not found favour with a Group of Ministers.

The GoM, in its preliminary observation, is understood
to have turned down a proposal to amend Section 6 A of the
Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.

As per Section 6 A, CBI cannot conduct an inquiry or
investigation into any offence committed under the Prevention
of Corruption Act, except with the previous approval of the
central government when such allegations relate to its
employees of Joint Secretary-level and above.

The GoM, however, is learnt to have suggested that the
DoPT can separately have a look into the proposal to either
amend or do away with the provision, sources said.

The Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee-led panel felt
that safeguards like Section 6 A were required for bureaucrats
to function without fear and seeking permission from the
government before proceeding against them will provide them
with the required shield.


First Published: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 23:52

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