The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government tabled the amended Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Monday evening even as anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare once again criticised the political class of not being serious about the legislation.
The Lokpal Bill, which was presented on the second last day of the Budget Session, was sent to a select committee after a heated debate.
The motion to sent the Bill to a select committee was passed following a heated debate and acrimonious exchanges between the MP belonging to the treasury and opposition benches. The 15-member select committee will study the the Bill and is likely to submit its report by the first day of the last week of Monsoon Session.
While tabling the Bill, Minister of State, Parliamentary Affairs, V Narayanasamy requested the “House to consider the Bill with consensus”.
Soon after the Bill was tabled Naresh Agarwal of the Samajwadi Party stood up to move the motion that the Lokpal Bill be referred to a Select Committee leading to vociferous protests from the BJP MPs. “I move the motion that the Lokpal Bill be referred to a Select Committee. I propose that the report be given within three months,” said Agarwal.
But BJP MPs stood up shouting slogans and objecting to Agarwal’s proposal that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee.
Earlier on Monday, Ministers of State, Parliamentary Affairs, Pawan Bansal and Narayanasamy met Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and BJP MP leader Arun Jaitley to iron out the differences on the Lokpal Bill even as parties like the Janata Dal (United) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) have maintained their reservations on it.
The proposed amendments are: Lokayukta to be separate from the Lokpal, only government funded NGOs to be under the ambit of the Lokpal, the appointment of Lokpal to be made by a more balanced body where the government has no upper hand, whether the CBI should be the investigation wing of the Lokpal or not, whether the CBI should be independent from the government or not, and corruption related matters to be heard by a designated court and not by Lokpal.
But the much-debated Bill is likely to be referred to a Joint Select Committee due to lack of consensus. When the Bill comes up before the House for discussion, it may be referred to a Select Committee of the House or a Joint Committee of the two Houses.
The Select or the Joint Select Committee considers the Bill clause by clause just as the two Houses do.
The absence of consensus on key provisions of the legislation including the one dealing with Lokpal’s superintendence over CBI appeared to be deterring the government from bringing the bill in the Rajya Sabha.
The Bill, which was introduced in Parliament in 2011 following massive country-wide protests led by Hazare and his associates, has already been passed by the Lok Sabha.