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Saturday, 7 January 2012

Parliament discussion on Lokpal Bill tomorrow

 Preparations underway on Monday at the MMRDA Ground for Anna Hazare's fast in Mumbai. Photo: Shashi Ashiwal The Lok Sabha will begin discussion on the Lokpal Bill on Tuesday, even as Anna Hazare begins his three-day fast at the same time in Mumbai for a “strong” Lokpal.

The House will witness a day-long combined discussion on the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011 and the Constitution (Amendment) Bill to give the ombudsman a Constitutional status.

The Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosures Bill, 2010 (popularly known as Whistleblowers’ bill) will also be discussed along with the two bills.

Congress has already issued a three-line whip to its members to remain present in the Lok Sabha during the debate.

It has also requested its allies in the UPA to issue similar whips.

The Lokpal Bill seeks to provide for the establishment of Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states to inquire into allegations of corruption against public functionaries.

The Bill had faced objections from various political parties including the BJP at the stage of introduction last week, saying 50 per cent quota for minorities in the Lokpal bench and the Search Committee was “unconstitutional.”

Several parties had slammed the measure claiming that the Bill made it obligatory upon states to establish Lokayuktas and it was an infringement on the federal structure of the country.

Some others had criticised the move to put the Prime Minister under the ambit of the anti-corruption watchdog.

Mr. Hazare has announced that he will begin his three-day fast at Mumbai from Tuesday to protest a “weak” Lokpal Bill.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi had declared that she will fight for the Lokpal Bill.

She had recently told party MPs that to tackle the issue of corruption, three bills with major implications are to be passed soon — those relating to the protection of whistleblowers, enhancing judicial accountability, strengthening anti-money laundering operations and controlling bribery of Indian public officials by foreign companies.

The government aims to establish a mechanism to receive complaints relating to disclosure on any allegation of corruption or willful misuse of power or willful misuse of discretion against any public servant under the Whistleblowers’ Bill which will also come for discussion in the Lower House tomorrow.

The measure also seeks to provide adequate safeguards against victimisation of the person making such a complaint.

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