Lokpal Bill taken up for consideration in Rajya Sabha
The much-delayed Lokpal Bill was today taken up for consideration in Rajya Sabha with most parties agreeing to pass the anti-corruption legislation, except Samajwadi Party which staged a walkout boycotting the House proceedings.
Initiating the discussion on the Bill, Law Minister Kapil Sibal said it was a "historic" day and it was time to celebrate the consensus that had been reached on the issue.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011, which could not be passed in the House in December 2011, was brought back after being referred to the Parliamentary Select Committee that recommended a number of amendments to make it widely acceptable among the political parties.
The bill is all set for passage as most of the parties, including main opposition BJP, BSP and Left, expressed their support to the measure.
Samajwadi Party staged a walkout as soon as the discussion began, with its leader Ram Gopal Yadav saying his party could not support the measure.
Sibal sought to allay any apprehension over the new measure, saying there will be no element of government interference in investigation that would be carried out against corruption under the Lokpal.
"I don't think it is time to laugh or snigger... it is time for us to rise to the occasion," said Sibal, who was batting for the bill in place of Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy who could not attend the proceedings because of his wife's illness.
Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley, while supporting the Bill, said he was happy that the government had accepted all the changes in "this changed environment".
He did not elaborate but was apparently referring to the drubbing Congress faced in the just-held assembly elections in Delhi at the hands of Aam Aadmi Party, whose main plank was the Lokpal issue.