The highly publicised anti-graft watchdog, Lokpal, should specialise in probing corruption cases of "bigger magnitude" and not be clogged with complaints against NGOs and charitable organisations, a parliamentary panel set up to examine the bill is set to recommend.
The Rajya Sabha select committee, which is currently examining the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha in December last year, will seek an amendment in the bill to NGOs, trust and charitable organisations out of its ambit.
The committee headed by Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi is not convinced that such organisations, whose number could be in several lakhs, should be subject to the Lokpal's jurisdiction.
"The committee proposes to modify this particular clause so as to exclude such societies, association of persons or trusts from the Lokpal's jurisdiction to avoid overburdening of the Lokpal with such cases at the cost of corruption cases of bigger magnitude," the parliamentary panel observed.
The original bill passed by the Lok Sabha states :"Every society or association of persons or trust (whether registered under any law or not) in receipt of any donation from the public and whose annual income exceeds the amount fixed by the government… shall be subject to inquiry by the Lokpal."
It had also brought within the Lokpal's ambit organisations which receive funding from any "foreign source covered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 in excess of Rs. 10 lakh in a year."
Though the bill was passed by the Lok Sabha without any difficulty, the clause to bring the NGOs under the Lokpal's jurisdiction was strongly opposed by civil society activists, particularly the disbanded Hazare team.
The select committee, in its deliberations held on October 19 and 20 did not agree with this provision of the bill.
It has asked the law ministry and the department of personnel and training (DoPT) to give its views on the committee's proposal to seek an amendment in the Lokpal bill. The parliamentary panel has asked the DoPT, department of legal affairs and the legislative department to hold consultations.