Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hails Lokpal Bill, calls it landmark step

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 22:48

Zee Media Bureau/Manisha Singh

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday that the passing of the Lokpal Bill by the Rajya Sabha was a landmark step.

The historic anti-graft bill was passed by the Upper House today after it was approved by voice vote following a five-hour debate. It is due to be debated in the Lok Sabha tomorrow. Four hours have been earmarked for the same.

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011 has been pending in the House for the last two years. At an all-party meet yesterday, a consensus developed on the passing of the bill. Only the Samajwadi Party opposed the anti-graft bill and walked out of the Upper House today as soon as the debate began and boycotted the House proceedings.

The proposed law is aimed at dealing with corruption and the Prime Minister has also been brought under its purview, albeit, with certain safeguards.

The bill had been passed by the Lok Sabha in December 2011. It will again go to the Lower House tomorrow for consideration, as it has undergone a number of official amendments.

The Bill was brought back to the Upper House after being considered by the Parliamentary Select Committee which recommended several amendments to make it widely acceptable among political parties.

Among the amendments accepted by the government are delinking of the mandatory creation of Lokayuktas by the state governments, one of the provisions which had stalled the passage of the bill in December 2011.

Law Minister, Kapil Sibal, while replying to the debate, said it was a `historic` day. He hoped that all states would pass similar legislations to set up Lokayuktas modelled on this bill.

Earlier, speaking in the House, BJP leader and Leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley said that government`s mindset had changed as the political situation had changed.

Last week, Congress vice president, Rahul Gandhi, had urged all parties to come together to pass the Lokpal Bill.

The Congress was routed by the BJP in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Delhi in the recently concluded Assembly elections.

With PTI inputs



First Published: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 19:07

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