Bringing Group C and D category employees under the ambit of Lokpal is legally sustainable but widening the jurisdiction of the proposed ombudsman would make the institution unwieldy, two separate government departments have told a Parliamentary committee.
While in respect of Group A and B officers, complaints referred by the Lokpal to the CVC will be sent back to the ombudsman after the preliminary inquiry, in respect of Group C and D employees, the CVC will take action on its own, according to the Lokpal Bill passed in Lok Sabha last year.
The bill met with stiff opposition in the Rajya Sabha following which it was referred to a Select Committee which is examining the measure.
Deposing before the Rajya Sabha Select Committee on Lokpal, the Ministry of Personnel said bringing Group C and D category employees under the direct ambit of Lokpal will make it “very difficult” to service the ombudsman as the total number of government employees stand around 3.9 million.
It said if the ambit of the proposed Lokpal is increased further, then it may become “unwieldy”.
Deposing separately, the Law Ministry told the panel that the inclusion of Group C and D category employees was a matter of policy. But their inclusion was “legally sustainable” and Constitutionally too, there is “no objection”.
In reply to a question, the Personnel Ministry also said as of now, it has not done a full assessment of people that will be required to staff Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in the states.
It said the number of benches will depend on the number of cases Lokpal registers.
The Ministry of Personnel will be the administrative ministry for Lokpal.
Responding to an issue raised by a member, Ministry's representatives said it can carry out a preliminary exercise for the immediate staff requirement.