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Parliament panel seeks public views on changing Lokpal Act


New Delhi, Jan 7: A Parliamentary Committee on Wednesday sought people's view on changing the Lokpal Act, which seeks to include leader of single largest opposition party in Lok Sabha in a panel to select the chairperson and members of the anti-corruption body.

Views on changing Lokpal Act sought
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas and other related law (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 8. It has been referred to Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice headed by Rajya Sabha member EM Sudarsana Natchiappan.

"The Committee has decided to invite memoranda containing views or suggestions from the individuals or organisations interested in the subject matter of the Bill and also to hear select oral evidence on the subject matter of the Bill," said an advertisement appeared in today's newspapers in this regard.

The Bill seeks to make enabling provision for inclusion of the leader of the single largest opposition party in Lok Sabha as a member of the selection panel to make recommendations to the President of India for appointment of chairperson and members of the Lokpal.

It seeks to lay down the tenure of the eminent jurist nominated as members of the Lokpal. The Bill aims to provide for appropriate eligibility conditions for appointment to the post of the Director of Prosecution for the sake of functional independence of that institution.

It also seeks to provide for a scheme wherein the filing of information by the public servant is brought in harmony with the provisions of the respective Acts, rules or regulations as applicable to different categories of public servants.

People can send in their views or suggestions to the Committee within a month's time, it said. 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 has been proposed to be amended, seeks to remove the deficiencies and provide for the alternative of leader of single largest opposition party in Lok Sabha, in the event there is no LoP in the House, for being represented on the selection panel.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had 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.


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