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Lokpal Bill in Winter session

Parliament: Clause on Lokayuktas to be dropped,govt hopes for larger support

Written by Maneesh Chhibber | New Delhi |
November 3, 2012 4:00:49 am

The government has decided to drop the contentious clause relating to setting up Lokayuktas in the states from the Lokpal Bill,and try to get it passed in the winter session of Parliament starting later this month.

Dropping the clause would help the government secure the support of UPA allies such as the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party and constituents of the opposition NDA in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling coalition is in a minority,top government sources told The Indian Express.

They said the government is waiting for the report of the select committee of the Rajya Sabha,which is studying the bill,before it finalises the amendments to the version of the bill passed in the Lok Sabha in the last winter session. This would also include changing the nomenclature of the bill by dropping its reference to Lokayuktas.

“We will certainly try to get the bill passed in the winter session of Parliament. The select committee is likely to submit its report when the session starts on November 22. We are in touch with the opposition parties and hope to secure their support too,” said a senior minister. The month-long session is likely to conclude on December 20.

The select committee was formed during the budget session to suggest amendments,if any,after the opposition raised objections about the format of this legislation passed by the Lok Sabha. When the bill was introduced and debated in the Rajya Sabha,as many as 190 amendments were moved by MPs from across the political spectrum.

These amendments mainly related to the Lokpal’s investigation wing,the appointment and removal of the chairperson and members of the outfit,and whether Lokayuktas should be part of the central legislation.

The sources said the government is also prepared to finetune the process of appointing and removing the chairperson and members as demanded by many parties. It could also bring NGOs receiving funds from the government or from foreign donors under the ambit of the Lokpal if such a suggestion is made by the select committee.

About Lokayuktas in the states,the government is of the view that after the Lokpal Bill is passed,Parliament can pass another bill — if two or more state assemblies recommend — to provide a model Lokayukta legislation.

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