Lokpal to be constitutional body: Salman Khurshid

The proposed Lokpal will have the status of a constitutional authority, Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid said.

Updated: Oct 11, 2011, 22:29 PM IST

New Delhi: The proposed Lokpal will have
the status of a Constitutional authority for which purpose the
Constitution will be amended, Union Law Minister Salman
Khurshid disclosed on Tuesday night.

"We are working on a very strong Lokpal Bill. A Lokpal
Bill that will come with a constitutional amendment. That
amendment will give the Lokpal the status of a constitutional
authority," he said.

The Lokpal will be "more powerful than the Election
Commission" and "will have far greater powers". Its profile
and stature will be "much higher", Khurshid said.

A Lokpal, with the status of a Constitutional authority,
had been proposed by Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi
during his intervention on a debate on the subject in Lok
Sabha last month.

Khurshid acknowledged that the move was in line with
Gandhi`s suggestion. "He is very committed to that and he
believes that it is a very important step we must take because
Lokpal is no ordinary institution," he said.

The Law Minister said the proposal had not yet been
formally considered by the Union Cabinet but the sense in the
government and the party was for a Lokpal that will have
Constitutional status.

There will be a separate bill to provide Constitutional
status to Lokpal, Khurshid said.

The move to make Lokpal a constitutional body is not
intended to delay the passage of the legislation, he said,
adding that the commitment to pass the bill in the Winter
Session of Parliament starting next month stood.

Asked about the composition of the Lokpal, the Law
Minister said the proposal was to have 11-member body, at
least fifty per cent of whom will have judicial background,
such as former judges of Supreme Court and High Courts.

The non-judicial members will be from civil society,
including those who have worked on corruption and good
governance such as those who have held high positions in
investigative agencies.

Khurshid confirmed that the proposal was with the
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice,
Grievances and Department of Personnel.

Asked if the Opposition parties had been sounded, he said
various members of the Cabinet are keeping in touch with
some specific leaders of Opposition.

PTI