Constitutional status for Lokpal good idea: CEC

New Delhi: Chief Election Commissioner SZ Quraishi says it is a good idea to make the proposed Lokpal a Constitutional body and also he was looking at positively the government move to make it "more powerful" than the Election Commission.

"Lokpal to be a Constitutional body is a good idea and that is the only way to make it effective and strong," he said tonight when asked to comment on the Government's intention to confer constitutional status on the anti-corruption ombudsman.

The CEC said this when asked to comment on Law Minister Salman Khurshid's remarks to PTI last night that the Lokpal will be "more powerful than the Election Commission" and "will have far greater powers".

Noting that the Election Commission has been cited as the "benchmark" on the question of giving powers to the Lokpal, Quraishi also hoped that the Government will work for strengthening the powers of the Election Commission.

"Whether the EC which is cited as the benchmark is really strong and is there a scope to make it stronger, I think Khurshid has given a new dimension. I take it very positively that he does realise there is scope for strengthening the power of EC and I hope government will work on it," he told NDTV.

Quraishi said the Election Commission as a Constitutional body draws all its powers from the Constitution enabling it conduct elections in a free and fair manner. He hoped efforts for basic electoral reforms aimed at eliminating corruption among other things will also engage the attention of the Government.

"The Lokpal at the end of the day will identify the corrupt and throw the person out but electoral reforms is aimed at preventing the corrupt and criminals from coming to power in the first place and this will be more suiting and more fundamental," he added.