Lokpal Bill to be addressed during Winter session of Parliament
Rajya Sabha select committee on Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill 2011 has adopted the final report
The much publicised issue of a Lokpal Bill will be addressed during the Winter Session of Parliament which begins on Thursday 22 November. The select committee formed by the Rajya Sabha on the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill 2011 has adopted the final report. The report will be presented in the Rajya Sabha on Friday, sources told Tehelka.
The latest report recommends that the states will be free to setup their own Lokayuktas within a year of the notification. The states will also be free to decide on the powers and nature of the Lokayukta. If they want they can also adopt model legislation drafted by the centre.
The report is of the view that a strong and independent Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is required for an effective implementation of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill 2011.
The recommendations of the committee include that the CBI should have separate Directorate of Prosecution under a Director, who shall function under the Director CBI. The Director of CBI shall be the head of the entire organisation. The CBI will be under the direction and superintendence of Lokpal only for the cases referred by the Lokpal. The CBI will not be able to transfer officers who are dealing with cases referred by Lokpal without the approval of Lokpal. Director of CBI will be appointed by a collegium comprising of Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India. The Director of Prosecution will be appointed by the CVC.
The committee has recommended that the Prime Minister’s Office be brought under the ambit of Lokpal. However, it has exempted the Prime Minister on the issues of external affairs, public order, atomic energy, space and security. The proceedings against Prime Minister will be held in camera.
Lokpal’s jurisdiction will cover all categories of public servants including A,B,C and D officers and employees of the Government. On complaints referred to the CVC by Lokpal, CVC will send its report of Preliminary Enquiry in respect of Group A and B officers to Lokpal for further decision. With respect to Group C and D employees, CVC will proceed further in exercise of its own powers under the CVC Act subject to reporting and review by the Lokpal.
The other interesting recommendation is that all entities funded and aided by the Government and those receiving foreign donations from foreign source in the context of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in excess of Rs 10 Lakhs per year will also be brought under the ambit of Lokpal.
The committee report also incorporates a number of other significant features. For instance, no prior sanction shall be required for launching prosecution in cases enquired by Lokpal or initiated on the direction and with the approval of Lokpal. Provisions have also been made for attachment and confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means, even while prosecution is pending.
The report also lays down specific time lines. Preliminary Enquiry is three months extendable by three months. Investigation is six months which may be extended by six months at a time. Trial is one year extendable by one year. The other proposal is to enhance maximum punishment under the Prevention of Corruption Act from seven years to ten years. The minimum punishment under the act should be two years.
The report has been adopted by the select committee and will be tabled on the second day of the winter session in Rajya Sabha. Last time when it came up in Rajya Sabha it did not go through. Since all party members were on the select committee the chances of the Lokpal Bill clearing Rajya Sabha are greatly enhanced.