Amended Lokpal Bill tabled in Rajya Sabha

Lokpal billThe government accepted the recommendation of the committee that the power to grant sanction for prosecution of public servants could be shifted to Lokpal in place of the government.

The amended Lokpal, which delinks the setting up of Lokayuktas in the states and transfers the powers of sanction of prosecution against public servant to the ombudsman, was brought for consideration in Rajya Sabha on Friday amid din.

Tabling the amended bill, Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy sought the cooperation of the House in its passage.

However, the bill could not be taken up for consideration as the House was not in order with members from SP and TDP shouting slogans in the Well against price rise and bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh respectively.

Members from BJP, Trinamool Congress and others complained that nothing was audible in the din and the House should first be brought in order.

Ravishankar Prasad (BJP) urged Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to restore normalcy in the House as it was an important issue, while Derek O'Brien was seen gesturing that he was unable to hear anything.

As the din continued, the discussion on the bill could not take place as the Chair adjourned the House till 2.30 PM.

On January 31 this year, the government had amended the controversial Lokpal Bill, delinking it from the setting up of Lokayuktas in the states and transferring powers of sanction of prosecution against public servant to the ombudsman.

The Union Cabinet had accepted 14 of the 16 recommendations made by the Rajya Sabha Select Committee, which was set up in May last year amid sharp differences among political parties because of which the legislation remained stuck in the Upper House since December 2011.

The bill has been hanging in balance since then. After getting a nod from the Upper House, the bill with amendments will go back for fresh approval to Lok Sabha where it has already been passed.

The government, however, did not accept a recommendation wherein an accused public servant would get no chance to present his view before preliminary inquiry is initiated.

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