Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2013 passed by the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha
The Parliament passed the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill 2013 to set up a strong anti-corruption ombudsman to probe corruption.
Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2013 was passed by the Lok Sabha on 18 December 2013. Earlier, the Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 17 December 2013 after some amendments. The Bill seeks to establish an anti-corruption watchdog that will have in its purview even the office of Prime Minister.
The Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2013 was passed by voice vote amid the opposition from the members Seemandhra region who were protesting against division of Andhra Pradesh to create Telangana state. During the passage of the Bill, Samajwadi Party members staged a walk out from the Parliament while Shiv Sena Party members voted against the Bill.
The passage of the Bill has been welcomed by anti-corruption crusader and social activist Anna Hazare. He sat on the fast for the Lokpal Bill passage for the fourth time on 10 December 2013.
Among the amendments accepted by the government are delinking of the mandatory creation of lokayuktas by the state governments, one of the provisions which had stalled the passage of the bill in December 2011.
Important features of Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill 2013:
• Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at the States
• The Lokpal consists of a Chairperson and a maximum of eight members of which 50% shall be judicial members
• The Lokpal Chairperson or member shall not be connected with any political party and one member will be an eminent jurist nominated by the President.
• The selection of Chairperson and members of Lokpal shall be through a Selection committee consisting of
1. Prime Minister
2. Speaker of Lok Sabha
3. Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha
4. Chief Justice of India or sitting Supreme Court judge nominated by CJI
5. Eminent jurist to be nominated by the President of India on the basis of recommendations of the four members of the Selection Committee.
• All ministers including Prime Minister with some safeguards and senior public servants are covered by the ombudsman, excluding the public servants under Army, Navy and Coastal guard.
• All entities receiving donations from foreign source in the context of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in excess of 10 lakh rupees per year are brought under the jurisdiction of Lokpal.
• Provides adequate protection for honest and upright Public Servants..
• Lokpal will have power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by Lokpal.
• A high powered Committee chaired by the Prime Minister will recommend selection of the Director, CBI.
• Directorate of Prosecution headed by a Director of Prosecution under the overall control of Director
• The appointment of the Director of Prosecution, CBI will be made on the recommendation of the Central Vigilance Commission.
• Transfer of officers of CBI investigating cases referred by Lokpal with the approval of Lokpal.
• The Bill also incorporates provisions for attachment and confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means, even while prosecution is pending.
• The Bill lays down clear time lines for Preliminary enquiry & investigation and trial and towards this end, the Bill provides for setting up of Special Courts.
• A mandate for setting up of the institution of Lokayukta through enactment of a law by the State Legislature within a period of 365 days from the date of commencement of the Act.
A Brief History
The term Lokpal is an Indian version of the Swedish term Ombudsman. The institution of Ombudsman was first established in Sweden in 1808.
In India, the term Lokpal was first used by the then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru in 1963 and in 1966 a Lokpal for the Centre and Lokayukta for each State were proposed.
Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill was first introduced in the Fourth Lok Sabha in 1968 .
The Bill was re-introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001 and 2011 but was never passed.
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