Not just the Lokpal Bill. Many important government legislations including education bills piloted by HRD minister Kapil Sibal and pending for over six months failed to get clearance of Parliament.
Sibal had got three bills --- National Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Technology and Education Tribunal ---approved from Lok Sabha in previous sessions. These bills were, however, not taken up for consideration in Rajya Sabha apparently because of paucity of time.
The same reason, however, did not apply for some other bills such as Factoring Regulation and National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions), which got approval of the upper house within a week of getting assent of Lok Sabha.
The UPA government’s minority position in Rajya Sabha has proven a bane for Sibal, who has four bills pending for approval in the upper house. Sibal had tried to reach out to members of Parliament to get the bills approved in the last two months but the opposition was not convinced.
In addition, Sibal introduced two new bills in Rajya Sabha --- the Copyright (Amendment) and National Education and Research Bill, 2011 --- not without much drama.
Couple of members prevented Sibal from introducing the Copyright Bill in the first go citing conflict of interest as his son was a lawyer of a music company. However, he managed to introduce the bill another day amid the din. But, he had problems with introduction of the Architects (Amendment) Bill, which was vehemently opposed by the BJP.
Among the 17 bills approved by the Parliament in the winter session, not a single bill was of the HRD ministry. When the Parliament meets again for budget session in 2012, the HRD minister will have about half a dozen new bills ready for introduction including Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Education Institutions, which has been approved by the Union Cabinet.
The government could not introduce reform legislation, the Pension Regulatory Bill, in Lok Sabha after its ally Trinamool Congress objected to certain clauses. The Judicial Accountability Bill was deferred by Lok Sabha after being considered for almost four hours because of paucity of time.
The Parliament, however, cleared the Cable Television Network (Amendment) Bill imposing new stringent rules for offending television channels and a bill to set up an academy for scientific and innovative research.
During the session, the government introduced 30 bills (27 in Lok Sabha and three in Rajya Sabha) and the two houses passed 17 bills. Among the bills not passed was the Lokpal Bill, which got approval of Lok Sabha on Tuesday but failed to get assent of Rajya Sabha as discussion remained inconclusive.