Dr Jitendra introduces Lokpal Act Amendment Bill

Excelsior Correspondent
NEW DELHI, Dec 22: Just a day before the House gets adjourned sine die and the current session of Parliament comes to an end tomorrow,the Lok Sabha today took up a Government Bill proposing amendments in Lokpal Act of 2013.
The Bill was introduced by Dr Jitendra Singh,Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space.
After a discussion lasting nearly two hours in which members from both Treasury and Opposition benches participated, the Bill was,by unanimous opinion, referred to Standing Committee.
It may be recalled that the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2013 was passed by the Parliament in December 2013 and received the assent of the President in January 2014, after which it became Lokpal and Lokayukta Act of 2013.
After the present Government took over on May 26, this year,it was noticed that there were certain deficiencies in the Act which required modification or improvement. Accordingly, the Union Cabinet approved certain amendments which were duly introduced in the Parliament by Dr Jitendra Singh in his capacity as Minister incharge Personnel & Training (DOP&T).
One of the important features of the Bill is to provide a provision for inclusion of the Leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha as a member of the Selection Committee when there is no Leader of Opposition (LoP) recognized as such in the House. The amendments also provide that no appointment of person in Search Committee or the proceedings of the Search Committee shall be invalid merely by reason of any vacancy or absence of a member in the Selection Committee or absence of a member in the Search Committee, as the case may be.
In a significant amendment in Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1947, Section 4(b)(a) proposes that there shall be a Directorate of Prosecution and in case of difference of opinion between the Director of CBI and the Director of Prosecution, the matter shall be referred to the Attorney General of India for his advice and such advice will be final.
From the point of view of public servants, the amendment in the Bill seeks to harmonize the provisions relating to filing of information regarding assets and liabilities by different categories of public functionaries, including Members of Parliament, Government employees and employees of Government bodies like PSUs, NGOs, etc. as applicable to each category such as Representation of People’s Act (RPA), All India Services Act, the Rules made under Article 309 of the Constitution, etc.
Since the newly created Lokpal office is yet to identify suitable location for its Headquarters in the Union Capital, Section-16(1)(f) of the Act is proposed to be amended so as to allow the Lokpal to have its Headquarters anywhere in the National Capital Region (NCR) of Delhi.
As a relief for Government officers, the Bill also seeks to omit reference to Section-6(a) of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1947 which required Government permission for enquiry against officers of the rank of Joint Secretary and above but not for officers below the level of Joint Secretary.
The Bill was taken up for discussion with members from all the political parties showing interest and enthusiasm to participate in the debate before it was referred to Standing Committee.


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