Lokpal Bill Introduced in LS, BJP Opposes PM Exclusion
The Lokpal Bill, which excludes the office of the Prime Minister, higher judiciary and conduct of MPs inside Parliament from the purview of the anti-corruption watchdog, was introduced in Lok Sabha today amid objections by BJP and its NDA partners.
The Lokpal Bill, 2011 introduced by Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy, seeks to keep the office of the Prime Minister outside the purview of the ombudsman during his term in office.
The institution would inquire into allegations of corruption in respect of the Prime Minister only after he demits office.
The government has maintained that the conduct of judiciary will be covered by the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill pending with a Parliamentary Standing Committee.
Similarly, the conduct of MPs has also been excluded from the ambit of Lokpal as under Article 105 (2) “no member of Parliament shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament…”
Just before introduction of the bill, Speaker Meira Kumar gave permission to the Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj to express her views as a special case.
Swaraj asked when the Prime Minister does not enjoy immunity from prosecution under the criminal law and Prevention of Corruption Act, then why is he being kept out of the ambit of the Lokpal.
She maintained that as per the Constitution, everybody was equal and there is no immunity from IPC, CrPC or the Prevention of Corruption Act.
“It is for the first time that under Clause 2 of the Lokpal Bill, all Union ministers are included except the Prime Minister. I don’t understand why. How can anybody occupying any position be a holy cow? Why is the Prime Minister being kept out of its purview?” Swaraj posed.
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