Lokpal Bill put in cold storage

Need more time to respond to 187 amendments submitted in Rajya Sabha, says parliamentary affairs minister

By Ankur Paliwal
Published: Friday 30 December 2011

After failing to ensure the passage of the much debated Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government hopes to pass it in the budget session next year.

The upper house adjourned at midnight without fixing the date of its next sitting after the government said that it would not be able to clear and respond to the record 187 amendments to the bill submitted by various parties. "If we want to be true to the cause, we need more time to go through the amendments," said parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Bansal.

Union Cabinet to decide on amendments

Most of the amendments moved by opposition parties are overlapping. Some amendments relate to only a part of a clause and not the entire clause, some demand removing an entire part of the bill," said V Narayanasamy, minister of state for parliamentary affairs. He said after going through the amendments, the Union Cabinet will decide what amendments to accept and what to reject.

On Thursday, UPA failed to persuade its ally Trinamool Congress, which remained adamant and opposed the provision relating to lokayuktas. The UPA, which has less than 100 members in the 243-member upper house, found it difficult to pass the bill when even supporting parties, like Bahujan Samaj Party having 18 members, Samajwadi Party having 6 members and the Rashtriya Janta Dal having four members, kept opposing the bill. The BJP, Left parties and regional parties like JD(U) and AIADMK have already termed the bill weak.

There was pandemonium in the house around midnight when chairperson Mohammad Hamid Ansari said, "An unprecedented situation has arisen. There appears to be a desire to outshout each other. There is total impasse. The House cannot be conducted in this noise. It requires orderly proceedings.” Seeing no one yielding, he adjourned the house without holding voting.  

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