Parliament finally passes Lokpal bill

New Delhi, Dec 18: Parliament Wednesday passed the Lokpal bill that provides for formation of an anti-graft ombudsman.

The Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011, was passed Wednesday amid din in the Lok Sabha after amendments to the legislation were adopted by the Rajya Sabha Tuesday.

Opposing the bill, the Samajwadi Party members walked out in protest as they did in the upper house Tuesday.

Urging Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to withdraw the bill, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav said: “The bill is dangerous. There will be chaos in the country.”

The most prominent of a clutch of anti-graft legislations on the anvil, the Lokpal bill seeks to establish a Lokpal at the central level and asks states to establish Lokayuktas within a year’s time from the date of notification of the law. The format of the Lokayukta will be left to the state assemblies to decide.

The bill was first passed by the Lok Sabha at the fag end of the winter session of 2011, but not by the Rajya Sabha, where it was debated but the house was adjourned before voting on it.

A select committee of the Rajya Sabha later suggested changes in the bill which were incorporated and approved by the union cabinet. Following the amendments, the Rajya Sabha passed the bill Tuesday.

After the Lok Sabha reassembled at 12 noon Wednesday after being adjourned for an hour, Law Minister Kapil Sibal moved the bill as amended by the Rajya Sabha to be taken up for consideration by the Lok Sabha.

Opening the debate from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said the government should not make any attempts to take credit for the passage of the bill.

“If at all anybody should be given credit for the bill, it is the old man who has been fasting (Anna Hazare).”

From the treasury benches, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi urged all parties to pass the bill. “We have the chance to make history.”

IANS