Congress moves privilege notice against Arun Jaitley for ‘misleading’ Parliament on Lokpal
The finance minister said the Lokpal bill was pending with a standing committee, but Congress leader K C Venugopal said it had been cleared by both the houses and the President.Updated: Apr 12, 2017 12:18 IST
The Congress on Wednesday moved a privilege notice against finance minister Arun Jaitley, accusing him of misleading Parliament on the issue of appointment of Lokpal, the anti-corruption watchdog.
The opposition party raised the matter after the question hour.
“The finance minister said that the bill was pending with the standing committee. He misled the house. The bill has been cleared by both the houses and the President has also given his approval,” Congress’s K C Venugopal said.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan intervened saying the matter was under her consideration, but it did not impress the Congress.
“He is such a learned lawyer. How can he mislead? You should refer the matter to the privileges committee,” Congress’s Mallikarjuan Kharge demanded.
“I cannot do it right away. I am looking into it,” the speaker replied.
On March 29, the opposition had unleashed a stinging attack on the government over the delay in appointment of Lokpal, a day after it informed the Supreme Court that the anti-corruption ombudsman cannot be appointed without amending a law.
Even then, Venugopal had strongly objected to attorney general Mukul Rohatgi’s comment in court that the existing law will have to be changed to substitute the leader of opposition with the leader of the single largest opposition party in Lok Sabha, as a member of the Lokpal selection committee.
The Congress has also accused the government of weakening the agencies and the institutions responsible for fighting graft and “bulldozing” laid down rules and procedures.
“The attorney general told the Supreme Court that appointment of the Lokpal has been delayed as amendment in law will have to be brought in. He is blaming Parliament for the delay. How can he blame Parliament? This is not acceptable,” Venugopal said.
As several other opposition lawmakers joined Venugopal in attacking the government, Jaitley intervened and said the required amendment in the law was being considered by the parliamentary standing committee concerned.