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Will you agree to a similar Lokayukta? PM asks states on the Lokpal bill

Would you have accept a similar Lokayukta in your state capital? This is one of the questions that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has sent to state chief ministers in what many are calling a clear attempt to stall the Lokpal bill.

Other questions include the advisability of including the Prime Minister, senior judges and the acts of members of Parliament within the houses under the purview of the bill.

The PM also urged all the chief ministers to send in their replies within six days, reminding everyone that the drafting committee has to complete its job by 30 June, when the Monsoon session of the Parliament begins. Anna Hazare has promised agitations if the bill is not passed bty August 15.

The BJP, meanwhile, said it will give its opinion on the matters when the government approaches the party. The government decided against including opposition members in the core drafting committee, pointing out that they will anyway be able to give their inputs in the Parliament.

The following are the highlights of the questionnaire sent to the states, released by the PM today. (see graphic for PM’s actual questionnaire)

i) There have been demands from the Civil Society members that one single Act should provide for both the Lokpal in the Centre and Lokayukta in the State. Would your State Government be willing to accept a draft provision for the Lokayukta on the same lines as that of the Lokpal?

ii) Should the Prime Minister be brought within the purview of the Lokpal? If the answer is in the affirmative, should there be a qualified inclusion (in which case you may also suggest qualifications for such an inclusion).

iii) Should judges of the Supreme Court/High Court be brought within the purview of the Lokpal?

iv) Should the conduct of Members of Parliament inside Parliament (speaking or voting in the House) be brought within the purview of the Lokpal? (Presently such actions are covered under Article 105 (2) of the Constitution).

v) Whether articles 311 and 320 (3) (c) of the Constitution notwithstanding members of a civil service of the Union or an all India service or a civil service of a State or a person holding a civil post under the Union or State, be subject to enquiry and disciplinary action including dismissal/removal by the Lokpal/Lokayukta, as the case may be?

vi) What should be the definition of the Lokpal, and should it itself exercise quasi-judicial powers also or delegate these powers to its subordinate officers?

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