New Delhi: The historic Lokpal Bill today took a giant step towards enactment after a 46-year wait, with the Lok Sabha passing it a day after the anti-corruption measure sailed through the Rajya Sabha with the support of opposition parties.The Bill creates a new independent agency empowered to investigate charges of graft among government servants.
Ten key provisions of the landmark legislation:
- Lokpal members shall not be affiliated to any political party.
- A panel of Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition (Lok Sabha) and Chief Justice of India to appoint the Lokpal.
- An eminent jurist to be one of the members of Lokpal. The President of India to appoint eminent jurist on the recommendations of the selection panel.
- The Prime Minister's Office will be under the Lokpal's purview. The body also covers societies, trusts and associations funded by the government. Non-Governmental Organisations or NGOs remain outside its ambit.
- Investigations under the Lokpal to be time-bound. A maximum punishment of 10 years for those convicted under the Act.
- CBI to have separate Director (Prosecution), to be appointed on the recommendations of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner, who reports to the agency's director. CBI Director and Director (Prosecution) to have fixed term of two years.
- Transfer of investigating officers can only take place with the approval of the Lokpal
- President can suspend a Lokpal member on the recommendation or interim order of the Supreme Court. A Lokpal member can be removed by the President after a Supreme Court inquiry.
- Supreme Court can probe Lokpal member on reference from President of India after a petition signed by at least 100 Members of Parliament.
- Each state must have a Lokayukta within one year of the notification of the Lokpal Act.