Cong LS leader in Lokpal selection panel; Govt to move Bill

NEW DELHI, Dec 11:
Leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha will be included in a panel to select the chairperson and members of anti-corruption body Lokpal and an amendment Bill in this regard will be introduced during the ongoing session of the Parliament.
Under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, the selection committee led by the Prime Minister consists of the Lok Sabha Speaker, the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Lower House, the Chief Justice of India or a judge of the apex court nominated by him and an eminent jurist who could be nominated by the President or any other member.
The Act, as now proposed to be amended, seeks to remove the deficiencies and provide for the alternative of leader of single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha in the event there is no LoP in the House, for being represented on the selection panel for appointments of chairperson and members of Lokpal, an official statement said today.
The amendments, which were approved by the Cabinet yesterday, paves the way for the inclusion of Congress party leader Mallikarjun Kharge in the selection panel.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has rejected Congress demands for LoP status to its leader. Congress with 44 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha has emerged as the second largest party after BJP’s 282 but fell short by 11 to stake claim to the LoP post for which it requires a strength of 55.
The Cabinet has also approved amendments to providing for qualifications for appointment of Director of Prosecution in CBI and for its functional independence.
The Director of Prosecution is appointed under the provisions of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, which governs the working of the CBI.
There shall be a Directorate of Prosecution headed by a Director who shall be an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India, for conducting prosecution of cases, according to the DSPE Act.
“There is no detail of qualification for appointment of Director of Prosecution in the DSPE Act. The amendments are being brought to mention qualification for the appointment and other enabling provisions to ensure its free working. An amendment Bill will be introduced during the ongoing Session of the Parliament,” a senior official in the Department of Personnel and Training said.
The proposed amendments will also address other deficiencies in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.
The amendments also seek to synchronize the provisions of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act with the existing regulating Acts, rules and regulations in respect of declaration of assets and liabilities by various categories of public servants and establish appropriate mechanisms to obtain and publish such information received from public servants for the benefit of the public, the statement said.
As per the Lokpal rules, every public servant shall file the returns of his assets and liabilities, including that of his spouse and dependent family members, on March 31 every year on or before July 31 of that year. For the current year, the last date for filing these returns was September 15, which was later extended to December-end.
All Group A, B, and C employees are expected to file the declaration under the new rules. There are about 22,95,374 employees in these three categories, as per the government’s latest data. (PTI)

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