A Parliamentary Select Committee besides recommending de-linking of Lokayuktas from the central Lokpal Bill in a crucial suggestion has sought that the CBI Director be appointed for a fixed tenure by a collegium comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice.
The Committee has suggested that for effective implementation of the Lokpal, the CBI should have a separate Directorate of Prosecution whose chief is to be appointed by the Chief Vigilance Commission, also for a fixed period.
Among other important suggestions are that the Lokpal would have the power of superintendence and transfer of officers on cases referred by it to CBI. For Lokpal referred cases the CBI may appoint a panel of advocates independent of the government with the consent of the Lokpal.
The Rajya Sabha Select Committee, looking at the Lokayukta and Lokpal Bill, 2011, has suggested that it be made mandatory for states to constitute Lokayuktas through enactment of law within one year of the notification of the Lokpal Act.
The panel adopted its report with ``consensus’’ although besides the BJP, members belonging to CPI-M, NCP, AIADMK and the Bahujan Samaj Party had differing views on issues like powers of the investigating agencies and even the need for creation of Lokayuktas. The members, however, agreed that instead of giving notes of ``dissent’’, their views would be annexed to the main report.
The panel did not recommend any change in the clause3 (2) (b) Bill, 2011 that provides for 50 per cent membership on the Lokpal shall from Scheduled castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, Minorities and Women.
Having taken the opinion of the Department of Personnel and the Ministry of Law, the committee held that the provision was in the nature of `representation’ to diverse sections of the society, hence the rules of `reservation’ was not involved. BJP members had raised the matter saying there was no constitutional provision for reservation to minorities, whose definition could vary from state to state. They later agreed to annex their ``suggestion’’ to the report.
According to sources, the major differences were on the issue of autonomy and independence of the CBI and reservation of 50 per cent positions on Lokpal for SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities and women. NCP member D.P. Tripathi, for instance, sought more financial and administrative autonomy to the CBI for its functional autonomy. CPI (M) K.N. Balagopal member raised the matter of inclusion of NGOs and government-aided bodies.
AIADMK member V. Maitreyan argued that keeping in mind the federal structure of the Union, formation of Lokayuktas should be left to the states and not be made mandatory. The party wants the Prime Minister to be excluded from the purview of the Lokpal. The committee has suggested that within a year of the notification of the Bill, state governments must mandatorily establish Lokayuktas in the state.
In another crucial recommendation the panel calls for deletion of the clause that allows a public servant an opportunity of being heard during the inquiry stage.
On the jurisdiction of the Lokpal, the panel did not make any change. It noted that there was already exemption in respect of the Prime Minister in terms of sensitive information.
The report will be tabled in Parliament on Friday and will thereafter be placed in the Union cabinet for approval.