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Govt Open To Providing Quota, Bringing PM Under Lokpal

New Delhi, Dec 16: As it finalises the Lokpal Bill for moving it in Parliament next week, government is open to many suggestions made at the all-party meet, including bringing PM under the purview of
govt open to providing quota bringing pm under...
India TV News Desk 16 Dec 2011, 23:27:05 PM IST

New Delhi, Dec 16: As it finalises the Lokpal Bill for moving it in Parliament next week, government is open to many suggestions made at the all-party meet, including bringing PM under the purview of the ombudsman with certain safeguards and 50 per cent quota for SCs, STs and others.

The bill, which is being given final touches, is expected to be taken up by the Cabinet at its meeting on Monday after which the government plans to move it in Parliament next week before the end of the session on December 22, sources said.

Considering the sensitivity of the legislation, fine-tuning is being done by an informal group of ministers including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Law Minister Salman Khurshid and MoS Personnel V Narayanasamy.

While the bill will see incorporation of recommendations made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee which examined it, the government today made it clear that it was open to other ideas that emanated at the all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday.

These include bringing the Prime Minister under the purview of the ombudsman with certain conditions and providing 50 per cent reservation to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs, minorities and women.

The demand for reservation was made by almost all the parties, except BJP, at Wednesday's meeting, the sources said.

With regard to demand for inclusion of Group ‘C' employees, the sources said discussions are underway to create an “appropriate mechanism” for this.

One of the suggestions in this regard is placing them under the purview of the CVC who would be asked to report the progress on anti-corruption cases to Lokpal.

The Parliamentary Committee had recommended reservation for SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities and women in the Search Committee which will assist the Selection Committee to select Lokpal. However, it was silent on reservation in the Lokpal.  If reservation is provided in the Lokpal panel, it will become the first Constitutional body to have the provision.

On the issue of PM, the Standing Committee had refused to take a position but recommended three options—inclusion without exception and qualifications, inclusion with no exclusionary caveats but after demitting office and inclusion with exclusions on issues like national security and foreign affairs and some others.

Making CBI, or its anti-corruption wing, a part of Lokpal still remains a contentious issue.

The Lokpal Bill introduced in the Lok Sabha in August this year says that “Lokpal shall constitute an Investigation Wing for the purpose of conducting investigationof any offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.”

Several parties, however, are insisting that CBI's anti-corruption wing should be under Lokpal to give it teeth.  On the inclusion of group C employees under the amit of Lokpal, one of the options with the government is recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee which had recommended a “broad supervisory fusion at the apex level” by some changes in the CVC Act.

“The CVC should be made to file periodical reports, say every three months, to the Lokpal in respect of action taken for these class C and D categories.

“On these reports, the Lokpal shall be entitled to make comments and suggestions for improvement and strengthening the functioning of CVC, which in turn, shall file, appropriate action taken reports with the Lokpal,” it had recommended.  It had also recommended “appropriate increase” in the strength of the CVC manpower.

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