Government drops minority quota in Lokpal

Lokpal will have provision for superintendence over CBI in corruption cases referred by it to the investigation agency.

New Delhi: Government has dropped the term `minorities` from new Lokpal Bill with regard to 50 percent quota in the Lokpal bench and the Search Committee while
opting against splitting CBI`s prosecution and investigation wings.

In the revised 64-page Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011, it is proposed that 50 percent of members of Lokpal and Lokayuktas shall be from among SC, ST, OBC and women but skipped any mention of minorities.

Similar reservation is being provided in the Search Committee of the Lokpal.

In the Bill circulated today to MPs, it has been proposed that the CBI director will be selected by a three-member committee comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court Judge nominated by him.

The changes in the appointment process will be made by amending the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, according to the Bill which has kept CBI out of the Lokpal`s full control.

However, Lokpal will have provision for superintendence over CBI in corruption cases referred by it to the investigation agency.

The Lokpal brings Prime Minister under its purview with certain safeguards like excluding issues relating to international relations, external and internal security,
public order, atomic energy and space.

The Chairperson and members of the Lokpal 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 the case of Lokayuktas, the selection committee will have 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 Bill seeks to establish a more effective mechanism to receive complaints relating to allegations of corruption against public servants including ministers, MPs, chief ministers, members of legislative assemblies and to inquire into them and take follow up action.

The Lokpal and the Lokayuktas will have a constitutional status for which government has come up with a separate constitutional (116th amendment) bill.

Both the Lokpal and Lokayuktas will consist of a Chairperson and a maximum of eight members, of which 50 percent will be judicial members.

It has been made clear in the Bill that no prior sanction will be required for launching prosecution in cases inquired by Lokpal and Lokayuktas or initiated on the direction and with their approval.

Similarly, no prior approval is required for conducting investigation by CBI in cases entrusted by Lokpal.

Inclusion of all categories of employees has been made under Lokpal and Lokayuktas which will receive complaints against Group A, B, C and D government employees.

While in respect of Group A and B officers, complaints referred by the Lokpal to the CVC will be sent back to the ombudsman after the preliminary inquiry, in respect of Group C and D employees, the CVC will take action on its own.


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