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Parliamentary panel on Lokpal gets two months’ extension

The Parliamentary committee examining the Lokpal Bill has got two months’ extension till September.

It is the second extension given to the panel after it could not finish its work by last month end.

The 31-member Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, headed by Congress MP E M Sudarsana Natchiappan, is examining the Lokpal and Lokayuktas and Other Related Law (Amendment) Bill, 2014.

“We have got time till September 30 to complete our work and submit report,” Natchiappan told PTI.

The amendment bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 18, last year, after which it was referred to the Committee on December 22. It was asked to submit its report by March 25 this year.

The panel had sought extension, which ended on July 30, to complete the task. The report has to be submitted to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari.

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill provides for establishment of an anti-corruption watchdog Lokpal for the Union and Lokayuktas for the states to inquire into graft charges against public functionaries.

The amendments include the one for allowing the leader of the largest opposition party in Lok Sabha, in the event there is no Leader of Opposition in the House, to be part of the selection panel for appointment of the chairperson and members of Lokpal.

The Lokpal selection committee headed by the Prime Minister has as its members the Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of the Opposition in the Lower House, 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.

Meanwhile, the panel has sought views from all recognised political parties on exclusion of assets detail of a government employee’s spouse and dependent children in mandatory property declarations filed under the provisions of Lokpal amendment Bill.

As per rules, every public servant shall file declaration pertaining to his assets and liabilities, including those of his spouse and children, as on March 31 every year or on or before July 31 of that year.

The bill seeks to exempt government employees from giving details with regard to assets belonging to the wife and children of government employees.

All political parties have been asked to give their opinion on amendment to Section 44 of Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 by August 14, Natchiappan said.

The political parties have been asked to depute any of their office bearers for presenting further input before the panel which is scheduled to meet on August 18, he said.



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