Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lok Sabha

The controversial anti-corruption Lokpal Bill 2011 that provides a mechanism for dealing with complaints on corruption against public functionaries in high places was introduced in Lok Sabha on Thursday. A serving Prime Minister will be outside the ambit of the proposed legislation, according to the Bill introduced today.
Simply put, the Lokpal cannot inquire into allegations of corruption against the Prime Minister during his tenure. Allegations of corruption can be inquired only after he has demitted office.
At the introduction stage, the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Ms Sushma Swaraj, objected to the exclusion of the Prime Minister from the purview of the Bill.
“My objection is not with regard to mandate of Government. My objection is with regard to violation of Constitutional provision. The Constitution provides equality to all. Under our criminal system, he or she cannot enjoy immunity. Under the Indian Penal Code, the Prime Minister has not been given immunity. But the Prime Minister is not included in the Lokpal Bill. Where is the logic? Nobody can be a holy cow,” Ms Swaraj said.
However, her objection was negatived and the Bill was introduced by Mr V. Narayanasamy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) after voice vote. This is the ninth Lokpal Bill that has been introduced in Lok Sabha.
The earlier eight Bills on Lokpal were introduced in the Lok Sabha in 1968, 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998 and 2001. However, these Bills had lapsed consequent upon the dissolution of the respective Lok Sabha except in the case of 1985 Bill which was withdrawn after its introduction.