Under fire from the opposition for the indefinite postponement of the Lokpal Bill, the government on Wednesday assured the Rajya Sabha that it will be taken up before March 30 during the ongoing budget session.
In his reply to the notice given by the leader of the opposition Arun Jaitley, seeking immediate resumption of the debate on the bill, parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said it will be taken up for discussion and passing before the House recess begins on March 30.
"Notwithstanding the primacy that is accorded to passing of financial business, the government wishes to bring the (Lokpal) bill for further discussion in this part of the session," Bansal said.
His response followed questions posed by MPs from virtually the entire opposition, who criticised the government decision of having adjourned the House on December 29 without putting the bill to vote."The government had stated that they would be indicating their response to the amendments moved by opposition parties on three major issues concerning bill. They had two and half months to consider these issues, but the response has not been indicated," Jaitley said.
"There is no reference about the government's response in the President's address to the joint sitting of the two Houses. We would, therefore want to know….when the government intends to resume the debate.”
Opposition parties, including the Left, backed Jaitley's demand.
"The minister had said they will come up with a road map for bringing the bill, but they have not come up with anything so far," CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said.
Bansal said the interpretation of the House rules by the opposition for the immediate resumption of the lokpal debate was not correct but the government was ready to take up the issue, though it would have wanted further consultations with various political parties, but it did not appear feasible.