The Cabinet today approved fourteen amendments to the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill that had been suggested by the Select Committee and rejected two suggestions, one of them related to transferring of CBI officials.
The Cabinet had agreed to allow the Lokpal to prosecute persons against whom cases were filed, but the ombudsman would have no hold on the transfer of CBI officials who were investigating them, Minister V Narayanasamy told reporters today.
“One thing we did not agree on was about officers investigating cases referred by Lokpal. The select committee had recommended that without the permission of the Lokpal the officer should not be transferred. We did not agree on this,” the minister said.
The CBI is an independent investigating agency and since it already had a fixed manner in which it operated the agency should be allowed to transfer officials as required, Narayanasamy said.
The committee had also said that when a complaint was filed with the Lokpal the agency should suo motu begin investigations without informing the accused person, a “contentious issue” which was rejected by the Cabinet.
“The person should know what allegations are leveled against him,” the minister said.
In the Rajya Sabha, an issue of contention among members had been the formation of Lokayuktas in each state and the MPs had suggested the bill needed to be passed in each state government to form a Lokayukta.
The committee had said that from the day the Lokpal bill is passed in Parliament it has to be passed within 365 days by the states, which has been agreed to by government, Narayanasamy said.
Other recommendations including excluding people affiliated with political parties from the Lokpal, the exclusion of religious and charitable organisations from under the purview of the body were also approved by the Cabinet.
“However, institutions directly funded by the government will remain under the purview of the Lokpal,” he said.
“Ramdev‘s trust is not a religious trust therefore it will definitely be under Lokpal,” the minister said.
However, political parties are still not under the purview of the Lokpal and Narayanasamy said there were other laws like the Representation of People Act, which dealt with it.
The Lok Sabha had passed the Lokpal Bill in December 2011 from where it went to the Rajya Sabha and in May 2012 it was referred to a Select Committee. The bill will now go to the Rajya Sabha for approval after which it will have to be passed by the Lok Sabha again.