The Lokpal & Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed by the parliament & it was introduced by Personnel, Public Grievances & pensions ministry.
Features of Bill
- The Bill amends the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 in relation to the declaration of assets and liabilities by public servants.
- It amends Section forty-four coping with the declaration of assets and liabilities of public servants.
- It defines ‘Public servants’ as a variety of persons together with the Prime Minister, Ministers, MPs & Officers of the government or of any organisation, trust or Non-government Organization (NGO) that gets Rs. Ten lakh as foreign aid or Rs. One Crore as government aid.
- The Lokpal Act needs a govt. employee to declare his assets & liabilities, that of his other half (Wife or husband) & dependent kids. Such declarations should be submitted to the corresponding authority within 30 days of entering the office.
- The public servant should file annual IT returns of such assets by July 31st of every year.
- The Act also orders statements of such declarations to be published on the relevant ministry’s website by Aug-31st of that year.
- The modifications were sought to be passed quickly without any debate & deliberation.
- Some industry lobby groups & trusts, NGOs under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) want the definition of ‘Public Servant’ to be revised.
- The involvement of government would create interruptions in the working of trusts, societies, charitable & non-profit organisations.
- The bill targets at providing the fifth extension for the revelation of assets indefinitely which should be made time bound.
- The standing commission of parliament on personnel, public grievances, Law & Justice will be assessing the bill again & suggest changes to section 44, & submit its report by the next parliament session.
- The board is also likely to define ‘public servant’ taking into consideration inputs from different stakeholders.
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