New Delhi: A draft report recommending that the Prime Minister should be brought under the purview of the Lokpal Bill has been adopted by a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
The Select Committee has sought that the Prime Minister be brought under the ambit of the Lokpal, barring departments like Intelligence, Atomic Energy which are RTI exempted.
The Lok Sabha, during an extended Winter Session last year, had passed the Lokpal Bill, but the bill got stuck in the Rajya Sabha and was referred in the Budget Session this year to the Upper House select committee.
The Bill was then sent to the select committee as there was a lack of consensus on several provisions of the Bill, like differences over the role of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and on federal rights of states in the creation of Lokayuktas for states.
The differences over federal rights of states on appointment of Lokayukta will also be now looked after by the committee.
While recommending that a collegium should appoint the CBI directors, the panel also said, “Don’t transfer CBI officers investigating cases sent by Lokpal.”
Apart from the above recommendations, the panel has also sought a fixed term for CBI director, mandatory release of funds for CBI investigations and also a separate director prosecution to be adopted by CVC.
The Committee`s recommendation is seen as a major concession to Opposition parties and UPA allies, which had termed the original provision as an attack on federal structure saying the state governments should be free to enact their own law regarding state-level ombudsman.
The original provision said `not less than 50 per cent of the members of Lokpal would be from SC, ST, OBC, minorities and women.
The Committee`s report said that "these provisions merely aim at providing representation to the diverse sections of the society in the institution of Lokpal..."and only indicates "the quantum of representation and not reservation".
BJP has strong reservations about the provision and is understood to have given a "suggestion note" in today`s meeting opposing any provision for reservation in the measure.
Notably, the anti-corruption crusader and social activist Anna Hazare along with his aides, last year, had pressurised the government for an urgent need of a strong Lokpal Bill.