The Lokpal and Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is now available online.
It shall be deemed to have come into force on the 16th day of January, 2014. In other words with retrospective effect, from the date the Lokpal Act came into force.
Earlier Section 44 (which dealt with ‘Declaration of Assets’) read as follows:
44. (1) Every public servant shall make a declaration of his assets and liabilities in the manner as provided by or under this Act.
(2) A public servant shall, within a period of thirty days from the date on which he makes and subscribes an oath or affirmation to enter upon his office, furnish to the competent authority the information relating to—
(a) the assets of which he, his spouse and his dependent children are, jointly or severally, owners or beneficiaries;
(b) his liabilities and that of his spouse and his dependent children.
(3) A public servant holding his office as such, at the time of the commencement of this Act, shall furnish information relating to such assets and liabilities, as referred to in subsection (2), to the competent authority within thirty days of the coming into force of this Act.
(4) Every public servant shall file with the competent authority, on or before the 31st July of every year, an annual return of such assets and liabilities, as referred to in sub-section (2), as on the 31st March of that year.
(5) The information under sub-section (2) or sub-section (3) and annual return under sub-section (4) shall be furnished to the competent authority in such form and in such manner as may be prescribed.
(6) The competent authority in respect of each Ministry or Department shall ensure that all such statements are published on the website of such Ministry or Department by 31st August of that year.
Explanation.—For the purposes of this section, "dependent children" means sons and daughters who have no separate means of earning and are wholly dependent on the public servant for their livelihood.
Now, Section 44 of the Act has been amended and substituted simply as follows:
“On and from the date of commencement of this Act, every public servant shall make a declaration of his assets and liabilities in such form and manner as may be prescribed."
Clearly therefore the requirement to file annual return of assets and liabilities by 31st March (for the year 2016, extended to 31st July) and the competent authority (MHA) publishing the information on its website and other such requirements appear to have been omitted and therefore, by inference, not applicable.
Section 59 which deals with “Powers to make Rules” too has been amended.
Earlier, Section 59(2)(k) read: “the form of annual return to be filed by a public servant under sub-section (5) of section 44. In other words it referred to the annual return to “be furnished to the competent authority in such form and in such manner as may be prescribed”.
NOW, in section 59, in sub-section (2), for clause (k), the following clause shall be substituted, and shall be deemed to have been substituted, namely: — "(k) the form and manner of declaration of assets and liabilities by public servants under section 44: Provided that the rules may be made under this clause retrospectively from the date on which the provisions of this Act came into force”
The Memorandum regarding “delegated legislation in the Amendment Bill” states:
“Clause 3 of the Bill seeks to substitute clause (k) of sub-section (2) of section 59 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, so as to empower the Central Government to make rules for the purpose of prescribing the form and manner in which declaration of assets and liabilities is to be made by public servant under section 44. The proviso to the said clause (k) empowers the Central Government to make rules with retrospective effect.
2. The matters in respect of which rules may be made under the proposed amendments are matters of procedure and administrative details and it is not practicable to provide for them in the Bill itself. The delegation of legislative power is, therefore, of a normal character.”
Thus, the form and manner in which assets and liabilities require to be declared and by whom will be reviewed and re-framed.
These changes are likely to be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee.