Daily Special Current Affairs Material for IAS (Pre) 2013
Chapter: National Issues
Topic: Government Lokpal Bill
Q. Who are the members of Selection Committee of
Government’s Lokpal Bill?
Ans. The structure of the
Government Lokpal Bill is such that it gives a dominant and preponderant voice
to the political executive in the selection.
The Selection Committee (Clause 4) of the Lokpal (Chairperson
and members) consists of the Prime Minister (Chairperson); the Speaker of the
Lok Sabha (normally appointed by and owing allegiance to the ruling
combination); a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister; and one
eminent jurist and one person of eminence in public life, both nominated by the
Thus, in a nine-member Selection Committee four will be
nominees of the government, and one the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, all enjoying
the confidence of the ruling party. The other four members are Leaders of the
Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, a sitting judge of the Supreme
Court and a sitting Chief Justice of the High Court — both nominated by the
Chief Justice of India. How will such a committee inspire public confidence or
ensure a credible and independent Lokpal mechanism?
Q. Who are the members of Selection Committee of Jan Lokpal
Bill (version 2.3)?
Ans. As against this, the
Jan Lokpal Bill (Version 2.3) provides for a Selection Committee consisting of
the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, two judges of
the Supreme Court and two permanent Chief Justices of the High Courts selected
by collegiums of all Supreme Court Judges (four judicial members in all), the
Comptroller and Auditor-General, the Chief Election Commissioner, and all
previous chairpersons of the Lokpal.
It means a total of two politicians, four superior court
judges, the CAG and the CEC. Surely, such a Selection Committee would inspire
greater public confidence. The stranglehold of politicians representing the
ruling combination in the Government Lokpal Bill is a highly malignant provision
that requires to be summarily dropped.
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Q. Article 361?
Ans. Article 361 of the Constitution grants immunity from criminal proceedings only
to the President and the Governors (earlier the Raj Pramukhs) during their term
of office. No immunity from criminal or civil liability has been granted to the
Prime Minister. Thus the basic structure of the Constitution negates and denies
any immunity to the Prime Minister.
Q. What is the provision regarding immunity under Cr PC?
Ans. Clauses 23 to 29 completely undermine the provisions and procedures under the
Code of Criminal Procedure which apply to all crimes, including crimes committed
under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Under the normal procedure, the
police have the power to investigate, gather physical and scientific evidence,
interview and interrogate individuals who can assist the investigation and,
thereafter, furnish their final report to the appropriate court under Section
173 of the Code. It is then for the court to either frame charges against the
potential accused or discharges them. During the investigation and the final
report (popularly known as the charge sheet), there is no question of giving any
opportunity to show cause or disclose to the accused the material or the
evidence collected. Under Clause 23, an opportunity to be heard, and a copy of
the complaint and material collected, is to be given to the suspect at several
stages before the completion of the investigation. Under Clause 24, inspection
is to be allowed to the suspect when an investigation or inquiry is “proposed to
be initiated by the Lokpal.” Similarly, under Clause 25, an opportunity to be
heard is to be given to any person “other than the prospective accused.”
Q. What is the definition of ‘Public Servant’ as per government Lokpal Bill and
what implication of it may be?
Ans. Clause 17 of the government Bill and related clauses expand the definition of
“public servant” to include non-governmental organisations/ societies/ their
office- bearers who receive donations from the public. Even autonomous NGOs not
controlled by the government but aided by it are brought within the definition
of ‘public servant.’ This is the most mischievous provision with a view to
harassing, intimidating and blackmailing NGOs/societies and their office-bearers
who are the principal activists and whistleblowers under the Right to
Information Act, and who are leading the movement for an effective Lokpal to
curb corruption at the highest levels.