Union Cabinet clears Revised Lokpal Bill, Kejriwal slams Govt

TNI Bureau: The much-awaited Lokpal Bill that the civil society group had been demanding for a long time was finally cleared by the Union Cabinet on Thursday. The new revised Lokpal Bill was given the nod even though the Law Ministry objected to the draft, which says that the states have to pass Lokayukta Bill within one year of passing by Parliament.

However, the government has not accepted the suggestions given by Team Anna members. On the bill, Arvind Kejriwal, the chief of Aaam Aadmi Party (AAP) slammed the government saying, not a single demand has been accepted by the Rajya Sabha Select Committee.

The revised bill included the suggestions recommended by the the Rajya Sabha Select Committee. As per the Bill, every state will have a Lokayukta within one year. The new bill also has extra protection for public servants giving them the right to present their view to the Lokpal.

MoS Narayanasamy said that total 16 amendments were proposed by Standing Committee of Rajya Sabha, but 14 have been accepted. The appointment of the Director of Prosecution by the CVC, except Govt-aided NGOs, religious organisations, will come under the purview of the Lokpal. The words ‘connected with political party’ will be changed to ‘affiliated with political party’.

The Lokpal will be selected by the committee which will be comprised of the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, and Chief Justice of India. The President of India will approve the selection and appointment of the Lokpal. The ’eminent jurist’ member of Selection Committee will be nominated by President as recommended by other 4 members. Public servants will be given a chance to explain before an inquiry.

Narayanasamy said that People affiliated with political parties will not be on the Lokpal panel. The Political parties will be governed under Representation of People’s Act. The revised bill said that CBI will be under supervision of Lokpal.

However, the main opposition BJP strongly criticised the revised bill. BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the party will await for the final print to give their opinion on the amended Lokpal Bill passed by the Cabinet.

BJP had recommended that CBI should be made an independent body but the government did not consider it. He alleged that the Opposition’s recommendations have been ignored, which proved that the government was not serious on giving autonomous power to the CBI. The BJP had suggested that the CBI Director should not get re-employed.

He said that the process of appointment if Lokpal should be transparent and free from the government control.

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