Hindustan Times (Delhi)

Don’t probe babus without govt nod, says House panel


Communist Party of India MP D Raja — who was a member of the select committee — distanced himself from the recommenda­tion.

Raja told HT that he wanted to record his dissent, but had no time to prepare because the last meeting was called during the Parliament session at a very short notice. “Yes, there are some issues... we will raise them when the bill is taken up in the Rajya Sabha,” he said.

Transparen­cy activist Anjali Bhardwaj, who founded the Satark Nagrik Sangathan, a people’s group, termed the amendment as a “completely regressive” step. “I am disappoint­ed... I thought the idea was to make the anticorrup­tion law stronger, not weaker,” said Bhardwaj, who had opposed these provisions before the panel.

The NDA government had originally come up with this amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act last year, but proposed that the power to clear FIRs be given to the Lokpal. Unsure of the public reaction, it didn’t want to appear as if it was usurping power.

Not surprising­ly, the government promptly agreed to suggestion­s at panel meetings that the mandate should

remain in its hands — and not with the Lokpal.

The decision to protect every public servant from harassment owes its origin to a May 2014 Supreme Court verdict, wherein a judicial bench struck down a provision requiring the CBI to obtain the government’s permission to probe incumbents in all joint secretary-level posts. As the court held that the law cannot discrimina­te between public servants on the basis of their rank, protection was given to all.

statement made by the HRD ministry in the Rajya Sabha, as many as 656 students dropped out of the premier institutes in 2015-16 — IIT-Delhi accounting for the highest number of such cases.

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