Lok Sabha clears bill to amend Lokpal Act


New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday cleared amendments to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, without circulating copies of the Bill, pertaining to dilution of Section 44 of the Act dealing with disclosure of assets of those holding positions on the Boards of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). The government, which introduced the bill on Wednesday, said the bill needed to be cleared urgently because the legislation requires every public servant to file and declare annual returns pertaining to his assets and liabilities before 31 July.

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“The government is open to the idea of amending the law, and it will also depend on the recommendations of the Standing Committee. NGOs and bureaucrats have been consulted,” he said, while reading out a statement before introducing the amendment.

According to top sources in the government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invoked Section 12, that empowers the Prime Minister to take an emergency decision that can be approved by the Cabinet ex-facto. "The amendment were cleared without discussion and are likely to come up at the Cabinet meeting to be held on Wednesday evening," sad a senior government minister.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and several members of Parliament, including nominated member Anu Agha and independent MP in the Rajya Sabha Rajeev Chandrashekhar,had raised concerns over the income disclosure clause for trustees and board members of NGOs. The Bill will now be presented in Rajya Sabha.