Lokpal Bill to come up in RS next week

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The much-debated Lokpal Bill, which seeks to create an anti-corruption watchdog, is likely to come up for discussion and passage in the Rajya Sabha next week.

Heeding demands from opposition parties and allies, the clause on setting up a Lokayukta in the states is likely to be removed, sources said today.

In December last year, the Lokpal Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha with certain amendments.

The government had failed to get a constitutional amendment cleared which sought to give constitutional status to the ombudsman.

It then moved to the Rajya Sabha for its consideration. Since the debate remained inconclusive, government is likely to move the bill with amendments which it had agreed to during interactions with political parties over the past few months.

Once the bill is passed by the Rajya Sabha with amendments, it will have to travel back to the Lok Sabha for its approval in a new shape.

Amendments to the Lokpal Bill when it was passed in the Lok Sabha had received post-facto approval of the government in April.

While being passed in the lower House, government had agreed to several amendments, including the one under which an inquiry against the Prime Minister has to be approved by a two-thirds majority of the full bench of the Lokpal.

When introduced in Lok Sabha, the bill had provided that an inquiry against the PM has to be approved by a three-fourths majority of the full bench of the Lokpal.

Another amendment was that once passed, the Bill will be applicable to states if they give consent to its application.

Changes also include keeping personnel of the armed forces out of the purview of the anti-corruption watchdog and increasing the exemption time of former MPs from five to seven years.

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