by Pallavi Polanki Feb 4, 2014 09:22 IST
New Delhi: The Delhi cabinet under the leadership of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday cleared the final draft of the Jan Lokpal bill which will now be placed in the state assembly for its passage.
"People were waiting for a strong law that would punish the corrupt. Their long wait has ended. Today is a historic day for Delhi. The government has cleared the Jan Lokpal bill," said Education Minister Manish Sisodia after he emerged from a Cabinet meeting shortly after 6.30 pm on Monday.
"Everyone from the chief minister to the peon have been included in the bill. The special feature of the bill is that there are no special privileges to any one. Everyone will be dealt with in the same way," said Sisodia, addressing reporters at the Delhi secretariat.
Unlike in the Uttarakhand bill, on which the Delhi Jan Lokpal is modelled, complaints against the chief minister will not be heard by the full bench of the Lokpal but will be treated on par with other complaints, the minister said.
The Lokpal will consist of a 10-member panel and will selected by a seven member selection committee that will have only one representative of the government - the chief minister.
The tenure of the Lokpal will be seven years and will guarantee "certainty and swiftness", said Sisodia.
Describing the main features of the bill, Sisodia, said that it was the first time legal protection to whistleblowers, witnesses and complainants and that in "sensitive cases" the punishment would extend up to life imprisonment.
On business entities found guilty of corruption, Sisodia said they would be liable for five times the loss they cause to the exchequer.
Sisodia, however, refused to get into the nitty gritties of bill, not commenting on when asked whether the Delhi Police would be under its ambit.
In a departure from practice followed so far, Sisodia said that draft bill will not be sent to the Lieutenant Governor but will be introduced in the Assembly directly.
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