Government has speeded up the process for creation of anti-graft watchdog Lokpal and finalising manpower and infrastructure requirement for it.
“We are in the process of finalising all things. The chairperson, members and other staff for Lokpal will be appointed soon,” said a senior official of Ministry of Personnel, which provides administrative support for Lokpal.
The Personnel Ministry is also likely to seek additional grant from Finance Ministry to meet the administration related expenses, he said.
The Finance Ministry had earmarked Rs. 19.73 crore for establishment related expenditure of the Central Vigilance Commission and a token provision for Lokpal in 2013-14 Budget.
President Pranab Mukherjee had given assent to Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill on January 1, this year. The Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on December 17, 2013, and by the Lok Sabha the next day.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 provides for the establishment of a body of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for the States to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries. It has under its purview even the Prime Minister with certain safeguards.
The Act has provision for chairperson and up to eight members for the Lokpal.
The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on August 4, 2011 by V. Narayanasamy, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
It was passed by the lower house at the fag end of the winter session of 2011. The Rajya Sabha could not approve the Bill following a debate on it as the house was adjourned before the voting.
Later, a select committee of the Rajya Sabha had suggested changes in the Bill, most of which were incorporated and approved by the Union Cabinet. Following the amendments, the Rajya Sabha passed the Bill.
The Lokpal legislation had become a bone of contention among ruling Congress, opposition BJP and civil society groups with each one of them wanting to make changes in it.
The anti-corruption body can inquire into corruption complaints against Prime Minister (with certain conditions), Union Minister, Members of Parliament, Group A (IAS, IPS and IFS among others), B (non-gazetted officers), C (clericals) and D (peons and other support staff) category of employees among others.
The Lokpal shall not enquire into corruption complaints against Prime Minister if the matter relates to international relations, external and internal security, public order, atomic energy and space.
“Unless a full bench of the Lokpal consisting of its chairperson and all members considers the initiation of inquiry and at least two-thirds of its members approves of such inquiry,” the Act says.
Also such enquiry against Prime Minister shall be held in camera and if the Lokpal comes to the conclusion that the complaint deserves to be dismissed, the records of the inquiry shall not be published or made available to anyone, it said.