NEW DELHI : The Government on Sunday said its priority was to make Lokpal functional and to pass four pending anti-corruption bills in the upcoming session of Parliament.
“We have notified the Lokpal rules. The process for selection of chairperson and members of Lokpal has begun. Our priority is to pass pending anti-graft bills in Parliament in the coming session,” Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions V Narayanasamy said.
Four bills — Whistleblowers’ Protection Bill, Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, Citizens Charter Bill and The Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials — related to Ministry of Personnel are pending in Parliament. “As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi have already said, the government will pass these bills on priority basis,” he said.
Parliament will meet for the last time between February 5 and 21 as Lok Sabha polls are expected to be held in April-May this year.
Narayanasamy said the selection process for Lokpal will be completed soon. “The process has started. After receiving the applications for chairperson and members, the government will complete the selection process soon,” the Minister said.
The Ministry of Personnel has published advertisements in prominent Hindi and English dailies seeking applications for chairperson and eight members of the anti-graft watchdog, Lokpal.
Out of the advertised posts for members in the Lokpal, four posts are for judicial members and remaining for non-judicial.
The Government has also circulated these vacancies to the Registrar of the Supreme Court, the Registrars of High Courts, Chief Secretaries of state governments and secretaries in the central government departments and ministries, calling for nomination of eligible candidates.
The applications, which are to be addressed to the Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), should reach by February 7, the advert said. President Pranab Mukherjee had given his assent to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill on January 1 this year. The Bill was passed by Rajya Sabha on December 17, 2013, and by Lok Sabha the next day.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, provides for the establishment of a Lokpal for the Union and Lokayuktas for the states to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries.
It has under its purview even the prime minister, albeit with certain safeguards.
The Act provides for a chairperson and up to eight members for the Lokpal. The Lokpal chairperson can be one who is or has been a Chief Justice of India or is/has been a judge of Supreme Court or an eminent person of impeccable integrity.
A person is eligible for being appointed as a judicial member if he is or has been a judge of Supreme Court or is/has been a Chief Justice of a high court, reads the specification for the post.
A person of impeccable integrity and outstanding ability having special knowledge and expertise of not less than 25 years in matters relating to anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, finance, including insurance and banking, law and management can be a non-judicial member of Lokpal, it said.
The chairperson and members shall be appointed by the President after obtaining the recommendations of a selection committee headed by Prime Minister.
The committee will have as members Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or a judge of the apex court nominated by him and an eminent jurist, who could be nominated by the President or any of the members.
The chairperson and members shall hold office as such for a term of five years from the date on which they assume charge or till they attain the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier