Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition, Lok Sabha & Shri Arun Jaitley, Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha
The Lok Sabha had passed the Lokpal Bill as introduced by the Government on December 27, 2011. The said Bill, as approved by the Lok Sabha, provided for a Lokpal, which would be substantially appointed by the Government and would be controlled in its functioning by the Government. It also provided for the CBI, as investigative agency, to be substantially controlled by the Government. The said Bill was not acceptable to the BJP. The Rajya Sabha debated this Bill on December 29, 2011. The Opposition had suggested several amendments to the said Bill. The majority members were in favour of the said amendments but the Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die on December 29, 2011. Thereafter, the Bill was referred to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha, which was headed by a Congress member viz. Shri Satyavrat Chaturvedi. The Select Committee held several meetings, and presented its report on December 23, 2012 to the Rajya Sabha. The report has been pending before the Rajya Sabha since then. Under Rule 91 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Rajya Sabha, the report of the Select Committee is presented to the House. It is only the House that can amend or accept the report. This is in contradistinction to the report of a Standing Committee, where the government can propose amendments to the said report.
Even though on some of the issues involved, the BJP’s view is slightly different from that of the Select Committee, the BJP is of the opinion that on most of the issues there is a unanimous recommendation of the Select Committee. In so far as, the unanimous recommendations of the Select Committee are involved, it is only appropriate that the Rajya Sabha should take up those unanimous recommendations forthwith. Since the Bill has been debated on several occasions in both Houses of Parliament and before the Select Committee, we in the BJP propose that unanimous recommendations of the Select Committee should be accepted forthwith by the Rajya Sabha and then brought before the Lok Sabha. For the present, for the sake of credibility of both Parliament and public life in India, it is important that the unanimous recommendations of the Select Committee are adopted forthwith.
The House is being repeatedly disturbed by the Samajwadi Party and the BSP. These parties, in the last four and half years, have ensured the survival of the minority government. Even if these parties disturb the proceedings (which we believe is being done at the behest of the government) we propose that the UPA and the NDA should jointly pass the Bill even without discussion and adopt the unanimous recommendations of the Select Committee since the Lokpal Bill is pending for a very long time. It is now for the government to respond to our proposals. If the government takes a stand that it wants to amend the unanimous recommendations of the Select Committee or allows the House to be disturbed by the supporting parties, it would be clear that the government is not interested in pursuing the Lokpal. We reiterate that we are are willing to pass the Bill even without discussion.