New Delhi: Lok Sabha on Wednesday approved an amendment to the Lokpal Act to allow extension to 50 lakh central government employees and NGOs receiving government funds in the deadline for filing asset declaration beyond July 31.
While the House provided immediate relief by approving the amendment to Section 44 of the Act, the provision will be examined in detail by a Parliamentary Standing Committee which will submit its report before next session of Parliament.
Moving the amendment for consideration, Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said the government has received representations from Members of Parliament and other stakeholders and on July 25 a delegation of MPs had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding deletion of the provision.
The amendment pertains to Section 44 of the Lokpal Act which deals with declaration of assets and provision of making the assets public, he said.
"Till the present impasse is overcome, the deadline with regard to government servants can be deferred," Mr Singh said as he moved amendments to the Act.
Mr Singh said the Standing Committee would give its recommendation before the next session of Parliament and till then the deadline for declaration of assets of public servants and NGOs can be deferred.
As per the rules notified under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013, every public servant shall file declaration, information and annual returns pertaining to his assets and liabilities as well as for his spouse and dependent children on March 31 every year or on or before July 31 of that year.
In April, the government had extended the date of filing returns by public servants from April 15 to July 31. This is the fifth extension in the deadline since the Act came into force in January 2014.
As per rules, organisations receiving more than Rs. 1 crore in government grants and donations above Rs. 10 lakh from abroad fall under the ambit of Lokpal.
"Since this law was framed by the Standing Committee, the same (amendment) has to go to Standing Committee. Government is open to the idea of of amending the law but the same can be done after taking into account the recommendations of Standing Committee. The Standing Committee is seized of the matter and I hope that the Standing Committee will give report before next session," Mr Singh said while referring it to the Committee.
The amendment to the Lokpal Act 2013 was later passed by a voice vote....