Tag Archives: anti-corruption

Lokpal Bill referred to Rajya Sabha Select Committee

In yet another twist, the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill was on Monday referred to the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha, further delaying the setting up of the anti-graft ombudsman which has been hanging fire for 42 years.

The Bill, on which debate had remained inconclusive in the Rajya Sabha during the last Winter Session, was referred to the Select Committee through a motion soon after Minister of State for Personnel V. Narayanasamy moved it for consideration and passage.

Interestingly, the motion for referring the bill to the Select Committee was moved initially by Samajwadi Party member Naresh Agrawal.

This was strongly objected to by BJP, Left parties and BSP, with their members arguing that only the minister concerned could move such a motion and accusing the ruling coalition of “using the shoulder” of “friendly opposition” party.

After high drama marked by arguments and counter-arguments over whether rules permitted any other member to move such a motion, the government yielded and the motion was moved by Mr. Narayanasamy which was immediately passed by voice vote.

He said the 15-member committee would have to submit its report by the first day of the last week of Monsoon Session.

While moving the bill, the Minister said differences on it had been narrowed down after consultations with various parties.

He said the government proposed to bring lower bureaucracy under the purview of Lokpal which will have investigating and prosecution wing. Besides, CVC will monitor investigations by the CBI referred to it by the Lokpal.

There will be provisions for attachment of properties and time-frame for investigations.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was witness to the high drama ahead of the Bill being referred to the Select Committee of the Upper House.

Questioning the sincerity of the government, Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said, “I urge the Prime Minister and the Government to be upfront and forthright and say do we want a Lokpal or we don’t.”

He also questioned the Government’s intentions in bringing the Bill a day before the Session ends, even when it had enough time to consult the opposition. “We have given our views formally at the all-party meeting and even informally,” he said.

Saying “the credibility of Parliamentary institution now is at stake”, Mr. Jaitley said the whole nation was looking at them. “We want and the country wants that the government comes out clearly on this issue.”

The government also came under sharp attack from BSP, with Ms. Mayawati agreeing with the Leader of Opposition on the government’s intention and asked it to come out with a proper proposal for passing the Bill.

“This is your weakness and you are shirking your responsibility,” she said, despite expressing commitment for the Bill it was delaying it on one pretext or the other.

She said the Bill must be not passed in haste and be done only after proper discussion with all parties.

Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) also questioned the amendment motion to send the Bill to Select Committee coming from a Samajwadi Party member instead of the Minister in-charge.

Mr. Yechury, however, asked the Government to include corporates under the purview of Lokpal saying, “You are not putting a check on demand side of corruption and are not putting a check on the supply side of corruption.”

This article was originally published on http://www.thehindu.com