New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday cleared amendments in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013 by heavily diluting its section 44 which deals with disclosure of assets by Central Government employees (public servant) and NGOs receiving Central funds, by exempting from filing returns by the due date of July 31.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced and passed within an hour during Zero Hour. It seeks to amend section 44 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013 under which it is mandatory for every public servant and NGOs to file annual returns of assets and liabilities owned by him or his spouse by July 31 every year.
The Government later rejected criticism that the amendment brought by it in the Lok Sabha to extend the deadline of July 31 for declaration of assets by NGOs receiving government funds and Central government employees was aimed at "diluting" the transparency law.
Briefing reporters, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar also said the amendment Bill was brought after consulting all political parties. By amending the section, public servants and NGOs receiving Central funds will be exempted from filing annual returns of their assets and liabilities by the said date.
The amendment comes amidst criticism that the Government was diluting the transparency law by classifying NGO officials as public servants.
Minister for Personnel and Public Grievances Jitendra Singh said that the Bill needed to be urgently because the legislation requires every public servant to file and declare annual returns pertaining to his assets and liabilities before July 31. It was cleared through voice vote....