Rajnath-led ministerial panel brainstorms on Lokpal Act

RSTV Bureau
FILE: File photo of social activist Anna Hazare. Photo - PTI

FILE: File photo of social activist Anna Hazare.
Photo – PTI

A ministerial panel led by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday discussed various issues related to the proposed anti-corruption body Lokpal. Lokpal Act provides for establishment of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayuktas for the states to probe corruption complaints against public servants.

The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh among others. Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and Sanjay Kothari, Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), were also present in the meeting.

Some issues related to Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, passed by the Congress-led UPA during its twilight phase, were discussed during the meeting.

The issues arising out of the report submitted by a parliamentary committee that went into Lokpal Act, were also discussed by the ministers, official sources said. The Centre had introduced a bill to amend Lokpal Act in the Lok Sabha on December 18, 2014. It was then referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee which submitted its report in December last year.

The amendments to the Act include the one for allowing the leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha, in case there is no Leader of Opposition in the House, to be part of the selection panel for appointment of the chairperson and members of Lokpal.

The selection committee headed by the Prime Minister has as its members the Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of the Opposition 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.

Noted social activist Anna Hazare had led a popular anti-corruption movement during 2011 demanding the office of Lokpal to be brought into an existence. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Pudducherry Governor Kiran Bedi were among the most prominent faces of the anti-corruption movement that had directly attacked the incumbent UPA government.

(With inputs from the PTI)