Burning Lokpal Bill an affront to parliament: Govt

Government said people indulging in such acts should come clean on their faith in Parliamentary democracy.

New Delhi: Government on Thursday slammed Team Anna
for burning copies of the Lokpal Bill which was introduced in
the Lok Sabha, saying people indulging in such acts should
come clean on their faith in Parliamentary democracy.

"You should ask them (Team Anna) about this as the Lokpal
Bill is now the property of Parliament. They claim that they
have full faith in Parliament," Law Minister Salman Khurshid
said.

"Those who express faith in Parliament are themselves
burning the copy of the Bill. You should ask them what kind of
belief is this," he said.

As BJP raised objection on exclusion of the office of the
Prime Minister from the ambit of the Lokpal, Telecom Minister
Kapil Sibal sought to turn the tables on the Opposition saying
the NDA, which had brought the PM under the Lokpal, should
have passed the legislation when it was in power.

"I am pained at Sushma Swaraj`s objection to the Lokpal
Bill. When NDA was in power in 2002, a draft Lokpal Bill was
prepared where the Prime Minister was included in its ambit.

The NDA government went on till 2004 but did not pass the Bill
in Parliament," he said. Sibal accused the Opposition of playing politics by
raising objections on the Lokpal Bill.

"They are openly playing politics. The politics is
clearly visible in the objections to the Lokpal Bill," Sibal
told reporters when asked about Leader of the Opposition
Sushma Swaraj`s objection to exclusion of the Prime Minister
from the ambit of the Lokpal.

Asked why the Prime Minister was excluded from the
Lokpal`s reach when the Bill was discussed at the Joint
Drafting Committee (JDC), Khurshid said: "A lot of things were
discussed initially and a lot of things were not included in
the draft bill.

"We presented a draft bill to Parliament, whatever we
thought was right, and it is now the property of Parliament."

On BJP`s objections on exclusion of the Prime Minister
from the Lokpal`s ambit, Sibal wanted to know why there was no
Lokayukta in party-ruled Gujarat.

"We want to ask why (there is) no Lokayukta in Gujarat?
Many names have been proposed, the Chief Minister has not
agreed. If their argument is genuine and has some basis, they
should prove to the public that wherever there is a BJP
government, they should bring a proper Lokayukta law and bring
Chief Ministers under their purview. When they do so, then we
will hold their objections valid," Sibal said.

PTI

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