Agencies, New Delhi
Ending a long wait for an effective check against corruption at the highest levels, Parliament today passed the historic Lokpal Bill providing for creation of Lokpal ombudsman institution at the Centre and Lokayuktas in the states to adjudicate complaints of corruption.
The Lok Sabha passed the Bill, cleared by the Rajya Sabha yesterday, with the Samajwadi Party and Shiv Sena members staging a walkout.
Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill 2011 which was returned by the Rajya Sabha was moved by Law Minister Kapil Sibal. He commended the passage of the the Bill amidst chaos in the House with members opposed to creation of Telangana protesting inside the well of the House.
The Bill was supported by the leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj who credited civil rights activist Anna Hazare, the ‘old man of Ralegon Siddhi’ for mounting public pressure through his unrelenting fasts. She complemented the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha for finishing the unfinished work of the Lok Sabha by coming out with a comprehensive bill.
Mr Rahul Gandhi pressed for passage of the Bill introduced by late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1968 but caught for long in the web of parliamentary procedures. He appealed to all political parties to support the legislation unanimously.
He said Lokpal Bill alone was not enough to fight corruption but a whole anti-framework against corruption was needed.
For this to happen the Government had come up with six legislations which were held up in both Houses of Parliament.
He said the Winter Session should be extended to enable the passage of important Bills concerning prevention of corruption, time bound delivery of government services, public procurements, judicial standards and whistle blowers.
Launching an attack on the Bill was Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh who opposed the Bill terming it an affront to the elected representatives of people.
‘You can’t put a daroga, a police inspector, behind an elected representative who is supreme in a democratic setup. After the passage of this bill no one would be signing the papers starting from a clerk to a minister and it would be a black day for the administration or development,’ he argued.
The passage of the Bill would bring in a range of officials right from Class II to the highest level the Prime Minister and his colleagues in the ambit of Lokpal and the Chief Ministers their colleagues in the web of Lokayuktas.
Hazare breaks indefinite fast on 9th day
Agencies, Ralegan Siddhi, Maharashtra
Social activist and anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare broke his fast on ninth day after the Lok Sabha passed the historic Jan Lokpal Bill today.
The 76-year old Gandhian broke his fast after consuming a glass of fruit juice offered to him by school children. Mr Hazare, who was on idefinite fast at his native place Ralegan Siddhi for the last eight days, was emotional as he clapped with joy after the Lower House of Parliament passed the Jan Lokpal Bill.
After seeing the proceedings of the house on TV, he stood up and waived the natioal flag and raised slogans ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and Vande Mataram’.
Around 500 volunters and supporters of Mr Hazare raised similar slogans as the villagers started celebrating the passage of Bill in Lok Sabha by bursting firecrackers.
Anna’s close aide Kiran Bedi and former Army chief Gen V K Singh also joined in the celebrations.
Mr Hazare thanked all political parties and members of parliament, except Samajwadi Party (SP), who voted in favour of the Bill and passed it in both the Houses of Parliament.
‘Our leaders have now realised that people want a legislation against corruption. I will not say the law will end 100 per cent corruption, but it will definitely bring it down by 50 per cent,’ he said.
All government officers from class I to IV will be under the purview of the Lokpal, who will have more teeth to unearth and prevent big scams, Mr Hazare added.