New Delhi: Law Minister Kapil Sibal on Saturday expressed regret that the wrong numbering of the Constitution Amendment Bill prevented it from being introduced in Lok Sabha on Friday, the last day of the Monsoon Session of the Lower House.
Agitated members of the opposition led by senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad sought a statement from the Law Minister on Saturday in the Upper House, forcing the Rajya Sabha to adjourn for 15 minutes.
Rajya Sabha members had passed the Constitution Amendment Bill providing for a Judicial Appointment Commission for the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary -- the Supreme Court and the High Courts -- and doing away with the present system of judges appointing judges, through a collegiate system.
The members refused to accept an explanation from Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath and sought the presence of the Law Minister to explain the reason for the lapse and express regret, as the error had caused a loss of time of the Upper House.
As the Rajya Sabha resumed proceedings, the law minister expressed regret and said that after the Constitution Amendment Bill was passed by the upper house and was being taken to Lok Sabha for introduction and passage, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat pointed to the error in the numbering of the bill, as passed in the Upper House on Thursday.
The Constitution Amendment Bill should have been numbered 99th amendment, and not 120th, as shown on the bill, the secretariat said.
The minister said that by the time the error could be corrected and the Constitution Amendment Bill could be printed with the correct number, it was too late to be introduced in the Lok Sabha.
Members of the opposition pressed for an apology, and Sibal got up and said that he had already explained the situation. He said he was sorry and expressed regret.