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Friday, 30 December 2011

Lokpal Bill continues to be a 'jinxed' affair


New Delhi:  The Lokpal Bill has always appeared to be a jinxed affair, the history of last 40 years shows. With the Rajya Sabha adjourning sine die midnight amid uproar without passing the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011, even after day-long debate, it has once again shown that it was so.

In fact, the strange coincidence so far was that the Lok Sabha has got dissolved whenever Parliament has taken up the Lokpal Bill for consideration.

This has been the case since 1968. That year, The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill was introduced on May 9. It was referred to the Select Committee of Parliament.

It was passed in the Lok Sabha as "The Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 1969" on August 20, 1969. However, before this Bill could be passed by the Rajya Sabha, the Fourth Lok Sabha was dissolved and consequently this Bill lapsed.

Then on August 11, 1971 another Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill was introduced. It was neither referred to any Committee, nor passed by any House. It died a natural death consequent upon the dissolution of the Fifth Lok Sabha.

Later, the Lokpal Bill was brought on July 28, 1977. It was referred to a Joint Select Committee of both the Houses of Parliament. Before the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee could be considered, the Sixth Lok Sabha was dissolved and consequently this Bill also lapsed.

The Lokpal Bill, 1985, was introduced on August 28 that year and referred to a Joint Select Committee of Parliament. However, the Bill was withdrawn by the then government because of its inadequacy to cover different types of situations. While withdrawing it, the government of the day said it would later come forward with a comprehensive legislation to deal with redress of public grievances.

The Lokpal Bill came again in 1989 as it was introduced on December 29. However, the Bill lapsed consequent upon the dissolution of the Ninth Lok Sabha on March 13, 1991. The United Front government introduced yet another bill on the issue on September 13, 1996. It was referred to the department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs for examination and report. The Standing Committee presented its report to Parliament on May 9, 1997 making wide ranging amendments to the various provisions of the Bill. Before the government could finalise its stand on the various recommendations of the Standing Committee, the Eleventh Lok Sabha was dissolved.

The last such measure was brought on August 14, 2001 by the BJP-led NDA government. It was referred to the department- related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs for examination and report but the Government bowed out of office in May 2004.