Lokpal bill: BJP govt likely to bring new anti-corruption legislation during Monsoon Session; blames UPA for delay

Union Minister Jitendra Singh Tuesday said the delay in setting up Lokpal was due to certain 'inherent problems' in the legislation as the previous previous UPA regime had drafted it in 'haste'.

PTI May 23, 2017 20:39:37 IST
Lokpal bill: BJP govt likely to bring new anti-corruption legislation during Monsoon Session; blames UPA for delay

New Delhi: Union Minister Jitendra Singh Tuesday said the delay in setting up Lokpal was due to certain "inherent problems" in the legislation as the previous previous UPA regime had drafted it in "haste".

Stressing that the central government was committed to establishing the proposed anti-corruption body, he said a bill to amend the existing legislation can be brought in the coming Monsoon session.

Lokpal bill BJP govt likely to bring new anticorruption legislation during Monsoon Session blames UPA for delay

File image of protesters demanding Lokpal bill. Reuters

"As far as Lokpal is concerned there is no delay absolutely. The government is totally committed to providing transparent governance, citizen-centric governance, and has zero tolerance towards corruption.

"And if Lokpal (legislation) required certain amendments, it is so because the earlier one was drafted in haste. It had some inherent problems which did not make it completely workable," the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office said at a presser.

Citing an example, he said that in the UPA's draft there was no clarity over provisions to be opted for in case of absence of the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, who is a member of the selection committee to choose the chief and members of the Lokpal.

Similarly, the tenure for the appointment of a jurist member of the selection committee was not defined, the minister said.

Singh said in order to overcome these shortfalls, the Lokpal amendment bill was brought in Parliament but on the advice of all the parties, especially the opposition, it was referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee.

"The standing committee in all their wisdom studied it and sent it back. A team of ministers was constituted which is now working on it and soon it will move forward," he said during the press conference to highlight achievements of his departments during the last three years of NDA government.

Singh said the bill may be brought in the coming Monsoon session, provided the House functions.

"We would have to bring in a Cabinet note and in the next session (it can be brought) if the session works because that also has been one of the impediments as some of the sessions got washed out.

"As a result of this, some other bills were affected like the one on Whistleblower and Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill. If the house doesn't work, it is beyond our capacity. We don't have any hesitation to come forward with it," the Minister said.

While hearing a matter on Lokpal, the Supreme Court had on 27 April said the proposed law was an "eminently workable piece of legislation" and it "does not create any bar to the enforcement of the provisions".

The anti-graft body Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states will look into cases of corruption against certain categories of public servants.

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