Govt may drop Lokayukta clause in Lokpal Bill

Govt may drop Lokayukta clause in Lokpal Bill

Government may drop the clause on setting up of a Lokayukta in states in the Lokpal Bill to bring some Opposition parties as also allies like Trinamool Congress on board.

The talk is that heeding to demands from opposition parties and allies, the clause on setting up a Lokayukta in the states may be removed before it comes up before the Rajya Sabha, possibly next week.

A minister, however, said that discussions are still on with the political parties concerned to thrash out the differences.

Sources said there are three-four sticking points in the much-debated Lokpal Bill, which seeks to create an anti-corruption watchdog, and the government is trying to build a consensus on these issues.

In December last year, the Lokpal Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha with certain amendments.

The government had failed to get a constitutional amendment cleared which sought to give constitutional status to the ombudsman.

It was then moved to the Rajya Sabha for consideration. Since the debate remained inconclusive, government is likely to move the Bill with amendments which it had agreed to during interactions with political parties over the past few months.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had convened an all-party meeting to resolve the differences over the Lokpal Bill.

Once the Bill is passed by the Rajya Sabha with amendments, it will have to be sent back to the Lok Sabha for approval. 

While being passed in the Lok Sabha, government had agreed to several amendments, including the one under which an inquiry against the Prime Minister has to be approved by a two-thirds majority of the full bench of the Lokpal.

When introduced in Lok Sabha, the bill had provided that an inquiry against the PM has to be approved by a three-fourths majority of the full bench of the Lokpal.

Another amendment was that once passed, the Bill will be applicable to states if they give consent to its application.

Changes also include keeping personnel of the armed forces out of the purview of the anti-corruption watchdog and increasing the exemption time of former MPs from five to seven years.

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