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The amended Lokpal Bill, which delinks the central government from creation of state Lokayuktas, was today approved by the Union Cabinet, paving the way for its consideration by Parliament.
The government, however, has not accepted a key recommendation of the panel that an official facing an inquiry by the Lokpal should not be given an opportunity to be heard at the stage of the preliminary inquiry. The Select Committee, to which the controversial bill was referred in view of sharp differences between political parties, has recommended delinking of the creation of Lokayuktas from the Lokpal Bill. This was one of the most controversial provisions with several parties contending that it amounts to the central government encroaching upon the rights of the states.
The Bill had said state governments will have to set up Lokayuktas within one year of enactment of Lokpal. On the issue of giving opportunity to an official to present his or her view, the government feels that such a protection is required and depriving the officials facing allegations the opportunity to present their views was against the "principle of protection".
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