Government clears its version of Lokpal bill for Parliament news
28 July 2011

In a widely expected move, the union cabinet today cleared its version of the Lokpal bill, leaving out most of the proposals suggested by the 'civil society' members of the original drafting committee.

In the government's version, the prime minister has been kept out of the purview of the proposed anti-corruption watchdog.

Senior bureaucrats, the higher judiciary, and MPs' actions inside Parliament have been left untouchable as well.

The bill will be introduced during the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament, information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni told the media in New Delhi after the cabinet meeting.

The bill says the Lokpal will have two separate wings for inquiry and investigation; but no power to prosecute. For this, the lokpal will have to approach the judiciary.
The higher judiciary will be governed under a separate judicial standards and accountability bill, say the government's proposals.

'Civil society' furious
"In its present form, the government's version of the Lokpal bill is too weak and ineffective," said social activist Anna Hazare, who spearheaded the public action for an independent anti-corruption watchdog. "It has a very narrow jurisdiction."

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Government clears its version of Lokpal bill for Parliament