Lokpal Bill to be delayed further

New Delhi: The much-hyped Lokpal Bill will be delayed further with the government today saying it will bring the measure in the Rajya Sabha in the Budget Session with required amendments in the light of the report of the Select Committee.

Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy said in the Upper House that the Bill will be brought in the next session after the Opposition protested over the non-tabling of the report of the Select Committee.

"Government has to take Cabinet into confidence. Government will bring it (Lokpal Bill) in the budget session with required amendments as given by the Select Committee. Then the House can consider it," he said.

The statement came after Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley supported the protest by K N Balagopal and P Rajeeve (both CPI-M) for not placing the report of the Select Committee before the House for discussion.

The Lokpal Bill was referred to the Select Committee of the House and not Standing Committee. The report has come…It is the property of the House. Fixing a time for the Select Committee report to be taken up for debate and consideration of the House is prerogative of the Chair, Jaitley said.

Explaining the Government's position, Narayanasamy said, "The Select Committee had submitted its report after the Parliament Session had started. It was sent to the Law Ministry for consideration and it has given its approval. We are taking the report to the Cabinet for getting the amendments approved."

The controversial bill, which was passed by Lok Sabha last year, faced opposition hurdle in the Rajya Sabha on various provisions, including the one making it mandatory for states to set up Lokayuktas.

In view of the sharp divide, the bill was referred to the Select Committee.

Narayanasamy was interrupted by Jaitley, who said, "The Select Committee has given its report under Rule 93 and it is the property of the Rajya Sabha. You cannot start acting on it unilaterally.

"You do not consider your prerogative to alter the report. This report is here and the report must be taken up for amendments," he said.

Earlier, Balagopal and Rajeeve protested as to why the government had not placed the report of the Select Committee before the House for discussion.

As agitating members came into the aisle over the issue, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked them to go back saying it was indiscipline and questioned why they did not raise the issue in the Business Advisory Committee meeting.

"You should have raised it in the BAC, which you did not do and now you are disrupting. Those parties who are represented in the BAC should raise it there and not here. BAC allocates time. It is very easy to raise it there and get time," he said.