PM under lokpal, with riders
Only in-camera proceedings against PM; probe to begin only if three-fourth majority of lokpal agrees to it. Saubhadra Chatterji reports.delhi Updated: Dec 17, 2011 01:35 IST
Proceedings against the Prime Minister under the lokpal will take place only in-camera, away from the public domain. As the UPA government prepares a fresh draft of the bill for passing it in Parliament, it is opting for heavy safeguards for the Prime Minister while bringing his office under the ambit of the anti-graft ombudsman.
In the two-hour long meeting of senior ministers, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, on Thursday, it was almost finalised to keep issues related to national security, foreign affairs, atomic energy and space outside lokpal.
Complaints against PM will be processed only if three-fourth majority of the lokpal body agrees to it.
The PM had already offered to come under the lokpal. But several senior ministers strongly objected to it and PM was kept out of the purview of lokpal in the initial bill.
The meeting also felt that any charge against the Prime Minister should be processed with precaution (see box).The meeting also discussed the investigation agency - CBI's - own observations about working under the lokpal.
To address the issue of the CBI's autonomy, a key demand of the Opposition, the government plans to formulate a special selection procedure for recruiting officers in the agency.
Law minister Salman Khurshid and corporate affairs minister Veerappa Moilly were not present. But the meeting decided to draft a fresh, 'clean' bill by Sunday and hand over to the Prime Minister's Office.
The Cabinet is likely to meet on Monday morning to approve the new lokpal draft.
As there were a large number of amendments, it was felt that a fresh draft would be better, said sources. In the meeting, home minister P Chidambaram reportedly spoke on the need for 'safety mechanisms' for civil servants.
A proposal to include CVC and CIC in the search committee was shot down.