A historic law to fight corruption, say Manmohan, Sonia

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the historic Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2013, paving the way for establishment of an ombudsman to fight corruption in public offices and ensure accountability on the part of public officials, including the Prime Minister, but with some safeguards. The measure was adopted by the Elders on Tuesday.

The Bill was passed unanimously following a brief discussion as members from Seemandhra disrupted the proceedings protesting against division of Andhra Pradesh. Samajwadi Party and Shiv Sena members walked out, opposing the new law.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi described the passage of the Lokpal Bill in Lok Sabha as a “historic and landmark” step to fight corruption.

Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh said it was a remarkable achievement. “It is a historic day in India’s Parliamentary democracy,” he said in a statement.

Making a rare intervention in the House, Lok Sabha, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said the passage of the Bill was a “big success” but more needed to be done to fight corruption. Supporting the Bill, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj sought to give credit to the “old man” (social activist Anna Hazare), who has been fasting for the passage of the Bill, and the people of the country, who had put pressure. She said there was a clamour to take credit for it.

Earlier, moving for the passage of the Bill, Law Minister Kapil Sibal said discussion had taken place over the past two years both inside and outside the House. However, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said the law Bill would bring government work to a halt as officials would be afraid of carrying out their duties.

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