High-level panel set up to examine Lokpal Bill

Last Updated: Sunday, February 20, 2011 - 18:37

New Delhi: Faced with a rash of scams, the
government is going proactive on the Lokpal Bill and has set
up a high-level panel to give more teeth to the anti-graft
mechanism.

The Committee of Secretaries on Lokpal Bill, headed by the
Cabinet Secretary, met in New Delhi recently to consider suggestions
to provide more teeth to the proposed legislation.

Sources in the government said the meeting considered
suggestions by private individuals and NGOs to make the
mechanism more effective.

One of the criticisms is that the Lokpal will not have any
power to either initiate action suo motu in any case or even
receive complaints of corruption from general public.

The public will make complaints to the Lok Sabha Speaker
or Rajya Sabha Chairperson. Only those complaints forwarded by
them would be investigated by the Lokpal.

This, some feel, will severely restrict the functioning of
the Lokpal.

Some NGOs have also objected to the restriction of the
three-member panel of Lokpal to retired judges and want
eminent people from other walks of life to be a part of the
panel.

The government is keen on giving a "final shape" to the
bill in the coming days.

A Group of Ministers headed by Finance Minister Pranab
Mukherjee formed recently to suggest means to tackle
corruption plans to come out with concrete suggestions on the
bill during the Budget session beginning tomorrow so that the
proposed legislation can be discussed with opposition parties
to evolve a consensus.

"The government will derelict from its duty if it does not
bring the Lokpal Bill in the Budget session", Gurudas Dasgupta
(CPI) told reporters on Sunday after an all-party meeting
convened by the Speaker ahead of the session.

Other members of the Committee of Secretaries include, the
Home Secretary, Secretary, DoPT, the Law Secretary and
Secretary Legislative Affairs, who is responsible for vetting
bills before they are sent for Cabinet nod.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, February 20, 2011 - 18:37

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