Congress confident of passing Lokpal Bill in Budget Session

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 30, 2013 09:18 hrs

New Delhi: The Congress Party on Wednesday said it is confident of passing the much debated Lokpal Bill during the forthcoming Budget Session of Parliament after the Union Cabinet approves the recommendations made by the select committee.

The select committee tabled its report in the Rajya Sabha in November 2012, amidst an uproar.

The committee members finalized the final draft of the bill with critical changes, such as partially including the Prime Minister under the body's scanner and making way for a collegiate to appoint the CBI Director.

Chairman of the select committee and Congress party lawmaker, Satyavrat Chaturvedi said: "A law is required. A strong and effective law is required and it is being awaited for a very long time, and I think that the wait would be over in this Budget Session," said Chaturvedi.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) V. Narayanasamy said the government had taken various measures to get the bill passed, and is resolved to pass it soon.

"Our government has taken a lot of steps, we passed the bill in the lower house of parliament, brought it in the upper house, formed a select committee in the upper house, which made the amendments. Now, we are bringing the bill into the cabinet, and after discussing it, we will bring it back in the parliament to get it passed. The government is committed to pass the Ombudsman Bill," said Narayanasamy.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, said the government should bring the bill with the recommendations made by the select committee.

BJP spokesperson, Prakash Javadekar said: "As select committee is the house committee, so those unanimous recommendations are the amendments actually. So, if government is not accepting the collegium, as is reported, we will like to wait but they must accept all recommendations because that is the consensus. If they don't accept those recommendations that means government does not have any interest in having a strong and independent Lokpal (ombudsman). That independence comes from this collegium provision."

The Lokpal Bill became a rallying cry for civil society activist Anna Hazare and his aides last year, when they called for the setting up of an institution to probe corruption in the Congress-led government, whose credibility had taken a hit after a series of scams, were exposed.

In the 2011 winter session of Parliament, the Lok Sabha gave the bill its assent, but disruptions in Rajya Sabha proceedings saw the passing of the Bill delayed. 

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