The existing Act has the Leader of the Opposition in the panel but there is no LoP in the current House. The amendment will pave the way for Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge to be its member.
The selection committee is led by the Prime Minister and consists of the Lok Sabha Speaker, the Chief Justice of India or a judge of the apex court nominated by him and an eminent jurist, who could be nominated by the President or any other member, besides the opposition leader.
Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh introduced The Lokpal and Lokayuktas and Other Related Law (Amendment) Bill, 2014.
The bill also proposes that “no appointment of a Lokpal Chairperson, member or the eminent jurist will be invalid merely by reason of any vacancy of absence of a member in the selection committee.”
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had rejected Congress demands for LoP status to its leader. Congress with 44 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha has emerged as the second largest party after BJP’s 282 but fell short of 10 per cent of the strength of House, a requirement to get LoP status.
The bill also provides for qualifications for appointment of Director of Prosecution in CBI and for its functional independence. The Director of Prosecution is appointed under the provisions of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, which governs working of the CBI.
There shall be a Directorate of Prosecution headed by a Director who shall be an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India, for conducting prosecution of cases, according to the DSPE Act. The amendments also address other deficiencies in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.
They seek to harmonise the provisions of the current Act with the existing regulating Acts, rules and regulations in respect of declaration of assets and liabilities by various categories of public servants and establish appropriate mechanisms to obtain and publish such information received from public servants for the benefit of the public.
All Group A, B, and C employees are expected to file the declaration under the new rules.
There are around 22,95,374 employees in these three categories, as per the government’s latest data.