I&B ministry mulling amendments to Prasar Bharti Act

Last Updated: Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 00:19

New Delhi: The Information and
Broadcasting Ministry is mulling amendments to the Prasar
Bharti Act to make it "conducive" for better functioning of
the public broadcaster without tampering with the spirit of
the autonomy of the legislation.

"We do not want to tamper with the Act," Information
and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters here
today, a day after CEO B S Lalli was suspended setting in
motion the process of his removal.

She, however, added that through amendments, "we would
like to make the act as healthy and as conducive to a public
broadcaster as possible."

The minister was answering a question on whether the
government is thinking of amending the Prasar Bharti law in
the wake of a lengthy process involved in taking action
against the CEO.

The I&B ministry sent Lalli the suspension letter
today after it received the Presidential communique approving
the action.
President Pratibha Patil had yesterday ordered the
suspension of Lalli, who is in the eye of a storm facing
allegations of irregularities in the country`s largest public
broadcaster.
Soni said that the Group of Ministers on Prasar
Bharti, headed by Home Minister P Chidambaram, would be
presented with the proposed amendments.

The Information and Broadcasting Secretary was given
three to four months to look at some amendments and he would
be
formulating his report shortly, she said.

Sources in the ministry said that the amendments would
also look at the employee problems of the public broadcaster
like payment of salaries and promotions.

A proposal might be put forward before the GoM of the
I and B Ministry taking over the payment of salaries and dues
and splitting into half with the public broadcaster the other
costs recurred.

The sources said that nobody has been appointed to
replace Lalli as he has not been removed but only suspended
pending inquiry.

The Presidential action clearing suspension came after
the Prime Minister`s Office (PMO) forwarded to Patil the
letter by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry
recommending the suspension of 63-year-old Lalli, a 1971-batch
IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre.

According to the Prasar Bharati Act, the Chairman or a
Member of PB can only be removed by an order of the President
on the ground of misbehaviour after the Supreme Court holds an
inquiry following a reference to it.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 00:19

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