M A I N   N E W S

Lokpal BILL
Govt promises early discussion
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 14
The Opposition today extracted an assurance from the government that the Lokpal Bill aimed at tackling corruption will be taken up for debate in the Rajya Sabha in the first half of the ongoing Budget session of Parliament.

Led by Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley, several opposition members demanded that the debate on the crucial legislation be resumed in the Upper House without further loss of time.

"Notwithstanding the primacy accorded to financial business in the first half of the session, we want to bring the (Lokpal) Bill for discussion in this part of the session," Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal informed the House, adding that the government was committed to put in place a ‘strong mechanism to check corruption’.

His statement came after Jaitley questioned the government’s intention to pass an effective legislation to combat corruption and demanded that the debate on the Lokpal Bill, which remained inconclusive during the last session, must be resumed under the rules now that the House has been reconvened. The BJP member had, in fact, given notice seeking suspension of the Question Hour to resume discussion on the Bill.

The Lokpal Bill was taken up by the Rajya Sabha for discussion on December 29, the last day of extended winter session of Parliament. The debate could not be concluded as the House was adjourned sine die at midnight, amid opposition protest.

Jaitley's demand was backed by other Opposition parties, including the Left, which wanted to know government's plan for taking up the debate. "The minister had said they will come up with a road map for bringing the Bill, but they have not come up with anything so far," CPM member Sitaram Yechury said.

The Parliament Affairs Minister told the agitated members that the government has studied all the 187 amendments moved by the Opposition and allies of the ruling coalition.





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