Lokpal Bill to be introduced by Aug 3: Government

New Delhi, Jul 29: The much talked about Lokpal Bill will be introduced in the Lok Sabha by August three and it will be government's endeavour to ensure its early passage, if possible in the month-long Monsoon session itself.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told reporters that the measure will be introduced in the first week of the Monsoon session beginning August one.

"It will perhaps be introduced in the Lok Sabha hopefully on either August two or three," he said, adding that government will refer it to the Standing Committee forthwith.

Bansal hoped that if the Standing Committee comes out with its recommendations on Lokpal Bill by end of August then the government could go ahead with its passage.

He dismissed team Anna Hazare's criticism of the Lokpal Bill cleared by the Cabinet yesterday noting that it was the view of just a section of the civil society and "not a democratic idea".

"They should respect others' views also," the minister said. Asked about reports of prohibitory orders being imposed in New Delhi District ahead of Hazare's proposed indefinite fast from August 16, he said it was the government's intention to maintain public order.

When reporters persisted with the question, he said that there have been several judgements of the Supreme Court on the issue. At the same time, he said he was for reasonable restrictions which do not interfere with the people's right to protest.

Bansal said as many as 35 bills, including the Women's Reservation Bill, has been listed for consideration and passage in the session concluding on September 8.

Besides Lokpal Bill, the prominent other bills for introduction included the National Food Security Bill, a bill related to land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement and the Prevention of Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill.

With the session expected to be a stormy affair, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister assured all political parties on the government's readiness to discuss any issue.

He appealed to the Opposition for cooperation in the smooth conduct of the business during the session which will have 22 sittings.

Ministers of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla, Harish Rawat and Pawan Singh Ghatovar were also present at the eve of the session press conference.

Bansal denied suggestions that the government was dragging its feet in bringing forward the bill concerning whistle-blowers noting that it was already on the "live register" of Parliament.

He steered clear of questions concerning the resignations by dozen odd MPs from the Telangana region to press the separate statehood demand.

"We have no role. Speaker has to consider it and take a decision," he said. Asked whether government would make any statement and if there will be a discussion on the issue, he said, "At present nothing like this is slated.... Government always responds to evolving situations in the Lok Sabha."

The Parliamentary Affairs Minister was of the view PAC chairman Murli Manohar Joshi should not proceed with the draft report on 2G scam after it has been returned by the Speaker.

"Joshi is a senior member and he should not have sent the draft report to the Speaker in the first place. Only those reports which have been approved are sent to the Speaker and not the drafts," he said.


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