Lokpal panel for changes in Constitution | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Lokpal panel for changes in Constitution

delhi Updated: Nov 29, 2011 23:32 IST
Nagendar Sharma

Going beyond the highly publicised lokpal bill, the parliamentary panel examining it has recommended amendments in the Constitution to strengthen the bills on the citizens' charter, judicial accountability and whistleblowers.

The parliamentary standing committee on law and justice, headed by Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi, will also take a final call on Wednesday whether to include the Prime Minister within the lokpal's ambit.

In sum, the panel's recommendations suggest measures on a legislative framework to fight corruption.

On the Citizens Right to Grievance Redress draft bill, 2011, which has been put in the public domain by the department of personnel and training, the panel has suggested giving constitutional status to the redress machinery on the lines of the lokpal.

"The committee strongly recommends that there should be a declaration similar to that of the lokpal to give constitutional status to the citizens' grievances and redressal machinery in its separate legislation," the draft report states.

The panel has referred to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement in Parliament on August 27, when the resolution on the three key demands raised by anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare - citizens' charter, lokayuktas and covering lower bureaucracy through a single bill - was discussed.

"The committee feels that the agreement in principle was to provide a citizen's charter but not necessarily in the lokpal bill," states the draft.

The panel, which is unanimous in keeping the judiciary out of the lokpal, has recommended the setting up of a National Judicial Commission (NJC) to create a model for judicial appointments, including, if necessary, by way of constitutional amendment.

"If desired, by amending the provisions of the Constitution as they stand today, such a proposed NJC may also give the power of dismissal or removal," the draft noted.

On the whistleblowers bill, it has recommended bringing the union ministers and the higher judiciary under its ambit.