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Lok Sabha passes Lokpal and Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill 2016

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Lok Sabha passed the Lokpal and Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which allows extension of the time given to public servants, trustees and board members of NGOs receiving government funds of more than Rs. 1 crore or foreign funding of more than Rs 10 lakh to declare their assets and those of their spouses.

What is Lokpal Act?

  • The term Lokpal was coined in 1963 by Laxmi Mall Singhvi, a member of parliament Billduring a parliamentary debate aboutgrievance mechanisms. The word was derived from the Sanskrit words “Lok” (people) and “Pala” (protector/caretaker).
  • Lokpal and Lokayukta Act is an anti-corruptionAct of Indian Parliament in India which seeks for the establishment of the institution of Lokpal to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public authorities and for matters relate with them.
  • The Bill was introduced in the parliament followingmassive public protests led by anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and his associates. The bill received worldwide media coverage and has been named among the Top 10 News Stories of 2011 by the magazine Time.
  • The Lokpal bill was first introduced in the Lok Sabha in 1968. The version enacted in 2013 was from a draft prepared in 2010.The bill is an implementation of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
  • For the first time, The Bill was tabled in theLok Sabha on 22 December 2011 and was passed by the House on 27 December as The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011.
  • The amendment to section 44 of the Act was moved by Dr. Jitendra Singh – Minister of State handling the Bill falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Personnel and Training. The Minister explained that the government was only trying to facilitate effective implementation of the Act.

Amended Extension:-

According to the rules under the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013, every public servant shall file declaration, information and annual returns pertaining to his assets and liabilities as well as of his spouse and dependent children as on March 31 on or before July 31 of that year.

This is the fifth extension of its kind and the Union Government is open to the idea of amending the law, but the same can be done after taking into account the recommendations of the Standing Committee.

Amendments to bills can be moved under three condition:

  • When cleared by the Union Cabinet;
  • The Prime Minister invokes rule 12 of the transaction of business and takes a suo motu decision, and a post facto approval is then sought from the Union Cabinet;
  • An empowered group of ministers meet and clear it, again with post facto approval of the Cabinet.

Finally Prime Minister Narendra Modi invokes special powers to approve the Bill and made it clear that the amendment was for providing immediate relief to public servants facing the July 31 deadline.