Amended Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha, debate thwarted

Amended Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha, debate thwarted
The anti-corruption Lokpal Bill was brought back to the Rajya Sabha today in an amended form but its consideration was thwarted by Samajwadi Party, an outside supporter of the UPA government, which disrupted proceedings.

Government brought the bill against the backdrop of a stunning performance by Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi Assembly elections over the plank of the Lokpal and the ongoing fast of Anna Hazare over the issue.

The amended bill delinks setting up of Lokayuktas in states, a highly controversial provision because of which many parties had opposed it in the House in December, 2011 rpt 2011.

The new bill also grants powers to ombudsman to sanction prosecution against public servants.

As Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy moved the amended Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011, and started speaking on it, Samajwadi Party members trooped into the Well and raised slogans.

SP, which provides outside support to the UPA government, maintained that it will not support the legislation in the current form fearing it would lead to "police raj".

However, in the House, the SP members disrupted proceedings by demanding a discussion on the issue of price rise, saying it is an issue of public importance that needs to be addressed first.

TDP members, meanwhile, kept shouting slogans against division of Andhra Pradesh and creation of Telangana state.

Soon after the House met at noon and Narayanasamy sought cooperation of the House in passage of the bill, BJP Deputy Leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said a discussion on the issue of price rise could be taken up on Monday.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said the House has agreed for a discussion on the Bill and the Minister has started speaking, but SP and TDP members continued to create ruckus.

The Upper House could not function properly because of the din and saw three adjournments till 3.30 PM before being adjourned for the day. 
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