Lokpal panel leaves it to Parl on PM inclusion

Parliamentary Committee has recommended inclusion of PM within the ambit of Lokpal and left it to the Parliament to decide on the final choice.

New Delhi: In a significant change of mind,
the Parliamentary Committee has recommended inclusion of Prime
Minister within the ambit of Lokpal with some safeguards along
with two other options and left it to the "good sense" of
Parliament to decide on the final choice.

The Committee, however, favoured keeping out judiciary,
MPs` conduct in Parliament and Group C and D employees at the
Centre out of the ambit of Lokpal while recommending inclusion
of C and D employees of the states under Lokayuktas.

The Parliamentary Committee on Personnel and Law and
Justice which will meet tomorrow for adoption of the 199-page
report has decided not to tinker with the present system of
appointment of CBI Director.

In a new recommendation, the Committee has favoured 50
per cent reservation to members of SC/ST, OBC, minorities and
women in the seven-member Search Panel for choosing a Lokpal
and to make the Search Panel mandatory.
It also favours inclusion of Chief Ministers under the
state Lokayuktas and if the report is accepted then the Bill
should be named as Lokpal/Lokayukta Bill, 2011.

The recommendation for inclusion of Prime Minister
excluding his decisions on national security, foreign affairs,
atomic energy and space along with issues which come under
"national interest" and "public order" marks a change from the
earlier draft which was silent on the issue.

While members of parties belonging to BJP, BJD and the
Left were insisting on inclusion of PM, those belonging to the
Congress and some small parties, constituting a majority in
the 30-member committee, were either opposed to it or were in
favour only after he demits office.

Discussing various options on Prime Minister, the
Committee recommended three options: inclusion without
exception and qualifications, inclusion with no exclusionary
caveats but after demitting office and inclusion of the Pm
with exclusions on issues like national security and foreign
affairs.
"...without going into the figures for or against or into
the names of individual members, the Committee believes that,
in fairness, all these three options be transmitted by the
committee as options suggested by the committee, leaving it to
the good sense of Parliament to decide as to which option is
to be adopted," the report said.

It recommended that Group C and D category officials
in the Centre "shall be brought specifically under the
jurisdiction of the CVC".

It said the CVC should be made to exercise powers
identical or at least largely analogous, in respect of class C
and D officials as the Lokpal will do for group A and B
category officials.

The panel had earlier decided to include Group C
employees under Lokpal`s ambit but had done a U-turn the very
next day following stiff opposition from Congress members in
the panel.

In the final draft, the Committee has recommended that
officials in the state government who are equivalent to Group
C and D at the Centre should be included within the
jurisdiction of state Lokayuktas "with no exclusion".

It said employees of state-owned or controlled entities
should also be covered.

PTI

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