Lokpal: Cabinet clears key amendments

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 31, 2013 12:15 hrs

The Union Cabinet on Thursday met and cleared some key amendments in the anti-corruption Lokpal Bill.

According to reports, the Bill might be tabled in the Rajya Sabha during the upcoming Budget Session of the Parliament.

The bill has been pending with the Rajya Sabha for more than a year. A select committee had suggested some changes in it and the government has reportedly agreed to most of them.

The Law Ministry has reportedly raised objections to the draft.

"The amended draft leaves the appointment of Lokayuktas to the states. The earlier bill had given this power to the Centre. The new bill also has extra protection for public servants giving them the right to present their view to the Lokpal. Here, the Law Ministry believes bureaucrats should not have the right to be heard first," CNN-IBN reported.

"The Rajya Sabha Select Committee had also said that the Lokpal could order a probe straightaway. NGOs, except religious organisations, will come under the purview of the Lokpal," the news channel said.

Veteran social activist Anna Hazare said the new draft of the Lokpal Bill was ´useless´.

He said he would continue his ´fight´ for the Jan Lokpal Bill.

Reacting to the development, former top cop turned social activist Kiran Bedi tweeted: "If Cab (Cabinet) has approved Select Comm unanimous recs, Bill will get passed by Rajya Sabha. The country will finally get a Lokpal to begin with!"

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal criticised the government and told media: "Why does the government not fulfill one single demand and make the CBI independent. There is no point making committees after committees."

Earlier this week, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had written to social activist Anna Hazare assuring him that the legislation would be passed in the coming budget session of parliament.

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