Lokpal Bill passed, statute amendment bill defeated in LS

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Parliament of India
New Delhi, Dec 28: After failed moves over the past 43 years, Lok Sabha passed a historic bill to create a nine-member anti-corruption watchdog Lokpal after a marathon debate but the government suffered a major embarassment when the legislation to give it a Constitutional status was defeated for want of requisite two-third majority.

Official amendments were carried out to The Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011, giving the option to states to set up Lokayukta and leaving armed forces and Coast Guard out of its purview.

An idea of Rahul Gandhi to give Constitutional status to Lokpal and Lokayukta, was also favoured by the Standing Committee which considered the bill.

The Treasury Benches, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, looked glum when the Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj raised the issue that the voting on the clauses of bill did not have the required special majority.

A Constitution Amendment Bill to be passed should have more than 50 per cent of the members of the House present and of them, two-third support is mandatory.

The House witnessed high drama as voting on the three clauses showed that the ruling side had failed to get the required number of 273 in favour, prompting Speaker Meira Kumar to drop the clauses from the bill.

"Since the clauses have not been incorporated, the motion for adoption of the bill becomes infructuous," the Speaker said.

An angry Mukherjee termed the development as "a sad day for democracy", blamed the Opposition especially BJP for the fiasco and warned them that "people will teach you a lesson".

On the Clause two, 247 voted in favour and 178 against, while in Clause three 251 were in favour and 179 against. Clause one received 250 and 180 against.

The Lokpal Bill about which parties across the spectrum, the opposition -- right and the left -- and allies and supporters of the government, had some objection or other was passed by a voice vote.

The House also passed the Protection to Persons Making Disclosures Bill, 2011 aimed at protecting whistle-blowers.

PTI

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