Govt to bring Ordinance on corruption, possibly Thursday

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - 20:54

New Delhi: In a bid to fend off Opposition
attack over several scams, the government has decided to bring
out an Ordinance to put in place a mechanism to deal with
corruption involving public personalities, including the Prime
Minister.

The government wants to bring the Ordinance before
January 25 so that it could become part of the President`s
Address to the Nation, sources said, adding it could be done
even as early as tomorrow when Cabinet meets.

The Ordinance will "draw heavily" from the Lokpal Bill
that is being vetted by the Law Ministry and provides for
filing of complaints of allegations of corruption against the
Prime Minister, Ministers and MPs with the Lokpal, the sources
said.

According to the Bill, the Lokpal shall consist of a
Chairperson who is or has been a Chief Justice or a judge of
the Supreme Court. It will also have two members who have
either been the judges of the Supreme Court or the Chief
Justices of the High Courts.

The government move comes at a time when it is under
severe attack from the Opposition over various major scams
like that involving 2G spectrum allocation and CWG.

The Ordinance will "draw heavily" from the Lokpal Bill
that is being vetted by the Law Ministry and provides for
filing of complaints of allegations of corruption against the
Prime Minister, Ministers and MPs with the Lokpal, the sources
said.

According to the Bill, the Lokpal shall consist of a
Chairperson who is or has been a Chief Justice or a judge of
the Supreme Court. It will also have two members who have
either been the judges of the Supreme Court or the Chief
Justices of the High Courts.

The government move comes at a time when it is under
severe attack from the Opposition over various major scams
like that involving 2G spectrum allocation and CWG.

The decision to bring the Ordinance is in pursuance to
Congress President Sonia Gandhi`s assertion at the AICC
Plenary last month that corruption will be taken "head-on"
without showing any tolerance to it.

The issue was discussed at the Congress Core Group
meeting at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s residence on
December 31 last.

The meeting discussed a note prepared by the Prime
Minister`s office in the light of Gandhi`s five-point action
plan to fight corruption suggested in her address to the
Congress Plenary.

Gandhi`s plan included among other things institution of
a new system of fast-tracking of all cases that concern
corruption by public servants including politicians and to
bring closure to such cases in a well-defined time-frame.

In his address to the Plenary, the Prime Minister
referred to Gandhi`s five-point action plan and said the
government would pay careful attention to the agenda set out
by Gandhi.

The draft Lokpal bill also provides that complaints
against ministers and MPs should be routed through either the
Lok Sabha Speaker or the Rajya Sabha Chairman and be heard
only if they are referred by the presiding officers to it.

The Lokpal can also enquire into act or conduct of any
person other than a public functionary if it is necessary for
the purpose of inquiry into any allegation of corruption.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - 20:54

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