Parl panel asks Law Ministry to give final view on Lokpal Bill



New Delhi: A Parliamentary committee has asked the Law Ministry, which has taken differing stands, to give its final view on whether Parliament has the power to pass the Lokpal Bill making it mandatory for states to set up Lokayuktas.

The Rajya Sabha Select Committee on Lokpal has sought the final view of the Law Ministry on whether Parliament has the legislative competence to pass a law which will be mandatory for states to follow.

"...It is expedient to enact a law for more effective implementation of the UN Convention and to provide for prompt and fair probe and prosecution in cases of corruption," said the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill passed by the Lok Sabha, and vetted by the Law Ministry.

The government had cited provisions under Article 253 of the Constitution to state that Parliament can make laws which are mandatory for the state governments to implement.

The Article states that, "Parliament has the power to make any law for the whole of India for implementing any treaty, agreement or convention with any other country or countries."

The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha. But in the Rajya Sabha, it faced opposition from several opposition parties which insisted that the option to set up Lokayukta should be left to the states.

In a presentation before the Committee recently, the Law Ministry had agreed that the bill should be amended, since making a law in accordance with Article 253 may not be in accordance with the constitutional scheme.

This change in stand prompted the panel to ask the Ministry to give its final view on the issue. The Committee in its last two meetings held last week largely devoted its time on this issue.

PTI