Also, it wants to ensure that complaints against PM are not motivated or frivolous
New Delhi, 17 December 2011. For the United Progressive Alliance government, a key issue of concern in the proposed Lokpal Bill is about who the proposed ombudsman will be accountable to: it is therefore, contemplating, informed sources said, putting in place a system by which if 100 MPs sign a petition against the chairman of the Lokpal Committee or one of its members, then the case will be referred to the Supreme Court.
Similarly, to ensure that complaints against the Prime Minister are not motivated or frivolous, the government is considering suggesting that at least three fourths of the members of the Lokpal Committee, at a full sitting, are party to it. The enquiry will be conducted in camera and the report sent to Parliament.
In the earlier government draft Bill, it was envisaged that the Prime Minister would be included within its ambit, but only after demitting office. However, under pressure from Team Anna, the government has decided to include the Prime Minister while in office, but felt that simply excluding decisions taken in the arena of national security or external affairs would not be enough. Hence, an additional safeguard.
To ensure the support of the parties espousing the cause of the Backward Classes, such as the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Lok Jan Shakti Party, the government will recommend that 50 per cent of the members of the Lokpal Committee be drawn from the SCs, the STs, the OBCs, minorities and women.
On Group C employees, the government has recommended that the enquiry and action be taken by the Central Vigilance Commission, and has proposed changes in the CVC Act to ensure that it exercises powers in respect of the lower bureaucracy similar to what the Lokpal will have for dealing with Group A and B employees.
The objections of the Central Bureau of Investigation have apparently been taken on board, and the government is likely to suggest that while the selection of future CBI directors will be done by a panel consisting of the Prime Minister, the Lokpal Chairman and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and that the agency will investigate cases sent to it by the Lokpal, it will retain much of the independence it enjoys now.
All these suggestions are likely to be part of a note that will come up for consideration by the Cabinet on Monday. It is also learnt that, with social activist Anna Hazare threatening to go on fast on December 27 if the Lokpal Bill is not passed by then, the government may suggest to the Opposition that after a four-day break for Christmas — December 23 to 26 — Parliament could meet for three days, December 27, 28, and 29.