Parliamentary panel asks govt to explore feasibility of amending Lokpal Act

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New Delhi, Mar 16 (PTI) A parliamentary committee on Tuesday asked the government to explore the feasibility of amending relevant laws so as to confer powers on the Lokpal to reconsider and review its orders.

The Lokpal has informed the committee that it received requests for reconsideration of its orders, but the same were not considered as it does not have statutory powers to review an order passed by it, the panel said.

Further, the Lokpal has also apprised the committee that it has requested the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to take necessary action to amend the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act at an appropriate stage for including the power to review the orders passed by it, the panel said in a report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

'The Committee recommends DoPT to explore the feasibility of amending the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act so as to confer on Lokpal the Power to reconsider and review its orders. The Committee recommends DoPT to apprise its views on the proposed amendment in three months,' the report said.

The recommendation was made by the Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice in its 106th report on Demands for Grants (2021-22) of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.

A committee comprising three Lokpal members -- Justice Abhilasha Kumari, D K Jain and I P Gautam -- was constituted to look into the aspect of recommending a policy regarding requests for a review of an order passed by the bench.

The committee, which was formed by Lokpal chairperson Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose, submitted its report on October 6, 2020.

In its report, the committee had said that the central government may be requested to consider the inclusion of power of review in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act.

The institution of Lokpal and Lokayuktas has been established under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries.

The three-member committee, in its report, had said that it is a settled position of law that the power of review cannot be exercised by a statutory body unless the statute specifically confers such power.

'The Act, as it stands, does not confer the power of review. In the absence of any statutory provision in the Act empowering the Lokpal of India to entertain an application for review, any such exercise under the garb of reconsideration/ clarification/ modification/correction of the order, would not be permissible in law,” it had said.

The jurisdiction of review can only be derived from the statute and thus, if any order of review is passed, in the absence of any statutory provision empowering the same, it would be a nullity, being without jurisdiction, the panel had said. PTI AKV IJT