It is confirmed that the Lokpal Bill will be tabled in the Lok Sabha to-day and discussion on the bill by the Members of the Parliament will take place on December 27, immediately after a short Christmas break. It is learnt that three Bills- the Lokpal Bill, a separate legislation to give the new body a constitutional status and the proposed Bill to project whistleblowers- will all be introduced simultaneously.
The government has proposed that the first two be taken up for discussion together, although this was met with considerable resistance from the Left and some other parties at a meeting of the Rajya Sabha Business Advisory Committee on Wednesday evening.
The time-table for consideration and passage of this important legislation was finalized after Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee got a green signal from Bharatiya Janata Party leaders L.K.Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, whom he met in his chamber.
Since all MPs require sufficient time to read the Bill before it is taken up for discussion and passage, it had become impossible for the government to push the Bill through by December 23. The BJP has reserved its considered reaction to the Bill till after it studies the ‘fine print’ The government can push the Lokpal Bill through by a simple majority- whips have been issued;
some parties said they would do this on Thursday asking their MPs to be present to vote on all three days from December 27 to29. But for giving the new authority a constitutional status- first proposed by AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi during the monsoon session debate on the issue- it will need substantial Opposition support. A constitutional amendment, which this would be, can be carried only if atleast 50 per cent of all members are present and two-thirds vote in its favour. It is not yet clear whether the Lokpal constitutional status will be put to vote at all on December27, for technically that can be done later, even months or years later as the BJP would prefer.