Collegium to comprise the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice

A Parliamentary Select Committee, besides recommending de-linking of Lokayuktas from the central Lokpal Bill, in a crucial suggestion has suggested that the CBI Director be appointed for a fixed tenure by a collegium comprising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India.

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 the 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.

Consensus on report

The panel adopted its report with “consensus,” although besides the Bharatiya Janata Party, members belonging to the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Nationalist Congress Party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Bahujan Samaj Party had differing views on issues such as 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 clause 3 (2) (b) Bill, 2011 that provides for 50 per cent membership on the Lokpal from the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, other backward classes, minorities and women.

Bone of contention

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)’s 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, the decision on formation of Lokayuktas should be left to the States and must not be made mandatory.

The party wanted exclusion of the Prime Minister 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 has called for deletion of the clause that allows a public servant an opportunity of being heard during the inquiry stage. The report will be tabled in Parliament on Friday and will thereafter be placed in the Union Cabinet for approval.

  • Panel recommends de-linking of Lokayuktas from the central Lokpal Bill

  • It suggests a separate CBI Directorate of Prosecution to deal with Lokpal cases