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Govt to modify Lokpal rules; more powers for search panel

New Delhi, June 11
Taking a first step towards appointment of the Lokpal, the government has decided to modify rules to give more powers to the search committee mandated to recommend names for appointment of chairperson and members of the anti-corruption body.

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) is making changes in the rules on the mandate of the search committee which will be notified soon, official sources said.

As per existing rules, an eight-member search committee is tasked to draw up a panel of persons for consideration by the selection committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for appointment of chairperson and members of the Lokpal.

These persons have to be chosen from among the panel provided by the DoPT, the rules say. However, the government will now empower the search committee to include people from outside the list provided by DoPT for consideration by the selection committee, the sources said.

There may be some other changes in the constitution of the search committee, they said.

Besides, the DoPT has written to Law Ministry to vet rules formed on filing of property returns by government employees under the Lokpal regime. As per the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, every public servant shall make a declaration of his assets and liabilities.

A form for filing of such returns by a government officer has been designed and rules in this regard have been sent to the Law Ministry for its comments, the sources said. The government has made it clear that Lokpal Act is important to curb corruption.

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act provides for the establishment of a Lokpal for the Union and Lokayuktas for the states to inquire into corruption charges against public functionaries.

Outlining Narendra Modi government's road map, President Pranab Mukherjee had on Monday said in his joint address to Parliament that the new dispensation "is committed to providing a clean and efficient administration focused on delivery. The institution of Lokpal is important to curb corruption and my government will endeavour to formulate rules in conformity with the Act."

Mukherjee had given his assent to Lokpal Act on January 1 this year. The last UPA government could not go ahead with the much-touted appointment of Lokpal due to objection raised by the BJP in the selection procedure of the anti-graft body.

Arun Jaitley, who was Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha before his party came to power at the Centre, had raised objections to the "highly improper" procedure adopted by the UPA government in making key appointments to Lokpal. Jaitley had written twice to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh alleging that the procedure adopted by DoPT is violative of the Lokpal Act. PTI

Widening the ambit

  • The search committee is mandated to recommend names for appointment of chairperson and members of the Lokpal
  • Currently, an eight-member committee is tasked to draw up a panel of persons for consideration by the selection committee led by PM Narendra Modi
  • These persons have to be chosen from among the panel provided by the DoPT, the rules say. However, the government will now empower the search committee to include people from outside the list provided by DoPT

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