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Govt unsure if vote will follow debate

delhi Updated: Aug 26, 2011 00:02 IST
Vikas Pathak

Lok Sabha is set to take up on Friday a discussion on sending the various civil society versions on the proposed Lokpal to the standing committee on law and justice.

While the government's own Lokpal Bill is already with the committee, the lower House will debate referring the other three rival drafts to it, which is being seen as a gesture to Hazare.

There are two options that the government is mulling for this discussion - one, under Rule 184 that entails voting, or two, under Rule 193 which is not followed by a vote.

A government functionary said the Centre will not withdraw its Bill as demanded by Team Anna, BJP and the Left.

"The government won't withdraw the Lokpal Bill; it would rather resign. This is constitutionally a bad precedent, but we have to do this (a discussion in the House) in view of the extraordinary situation."

However, former Lok Sabha secretary general PDT Achary said Parliamentary rules allowed for a stronger Bill to be brought with the Speaker's permission even when a Bill was already before it.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said: "There may not be any precedent of sending various drafts from the House to a standing committee while it is already examining a Bill. But Parliament is a developing institution and should respond to the changing situation."

He, however, cautioned: "But one thing is clear. Nobody can dictate to Parliament that his version of the Bill be passed."

(With inputs from Saubhadra Chatterji)