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Cabinet nod for Cong LS leader's inclusion in Lokpal selection panel

The leader of the largest opposition party in Lok Sabha will be included in a panel to select the chairperson and members of Lokpal under the amended law, governing the functioning of the anti-corruption body, approved by the Union Cabinet today.



New Delhi: The leader of the largest opposition party in Lok Sabha will be included in a panel to select the chairperson and members of Lokpal under the amended law, governing the functioning of the anti-corruption body, approved by the Union Cabinet today.

The approved amendments in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act paves the way for the inclusion of Congress party leader Mallikarjun Kharge in the selection panel led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"The Act, as now proposed to be amended, seeks to remove the deficiencies and provide for the alternative of Leader of single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha in the event there is no Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, for being represented on the selection committee for appointments of chairperson and members of Lokpal," an official release said.

As per the Lokpal Act, the selection committee consists of the Lok Sabha Speaker, the Leader of Opposition in the Lower House, the Chief Justice of India or a judge of the apex court nominated by him and an eminent jurist who could be nominated by the President or any other member.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has not given LoP status to Congress which failed to secure 55 seats in the Lok Sabha. Congress with 44 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha has emerged as the second largest party after BJP's 282 but fell short by 11 to stake claim to the Leader of Opposition (LoP) post for which it requires a strength of 55.

The Cabinet also approved amendments for providing for qualifications for appointment of Director of Prosecution in CBI and for his functional independence, it said.

"The proposed amendments will also address other deficiencies in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013," the release said.

A Bill effecting these amendments will be brought during the ongoing winter session of Parliament, it said.

The amendments also seek to synchronize the provisions of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act with the existing regulating Acts, rules and regulations in respect of declaration of assets and liabilities by various categories of public servants and establish appropriate mechanisms to obtain and publish such information received from public servants for the benefit of the public, the release said.

The proposed amendments will address some crucial deficiencies noticed in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act and the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, which governs the working of CBI, it said.

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