Government going all out to pass it in this session itself

The government will have to race against time to introduce the revised Lokpal Bill if it is to be approved by both Houses of Parliament this session.

Earlier in the day on Tuesday, the Business Advisory Committee of the Lok Sabha gave the green signal for extending the session for three days from December 27. But by evening several members opposed the decision and the BAC is expected to meet on Wednesday to take a final view.

Thanks to the opposition to the idea of Parliament conducting business beyond Friday, in view of Christmas and New Year, there are just three days left if the Bill is to be approved this year.

As per the rule book, the first session in the New Year will have to begin with the President's joint address to both Houses, practically leaving out the option of either an extended session or a special session in January.

There is an instance of a session in January but senior leaders of the UPA do not want to set another wrong precedent. For the revised Lokpal Bill to be taken up for consideration and passage by the Lok Sabha, the government would have to first circulate it to MPs.

The government is required to circulate a new Bill to the MPs at least two days in advance and it could be introduced only five days after it is circulated. However, the Speaker could waive the required period for circulation by a day and give permission for introduction of the Bill without waiting for five days.

The latest the Lokpal Bill could come up before the Lok Sabha is Thursday, and if it is approved after the allotted 12 hours of debate, it could be sent to the Rajya Sabha on Friday for passage.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told journalists that the government decided to introduce a new Lokpal Bill rather than introduce amendments to the existing measure. For, incorporating 60-odd amendments would have made it a messy affair.

Mr. Bansal cited the Companies Amendment Bill, which was originally introduced in 2009 but the government decided to introduce a fresh Bill this year after it accepted most of 170-odd amendments made by the Standing Committee.

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