Parliament session may be extended by three days to pass legislation

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Monday told journalists that the government was hopeful of moving a Lokpal Bill which would be acceptable to a majority of the parties.

“The revised Bill may not be acceptable to all but we are hopeful that it would be by and large acceptable to a majority.”

Explaining the rationale behind introducing a new Bill rather than moving amendments to the existing one, Mr. Bansal said the number of amendments were too many and it would be ‘messy' to carry them in the current Bill. “The idea is to have a cleaner Bill.”

He cited the Companies Amendment Bill, which was introduced in 2009. The government decided to introduce a fresh one this year after it accepted most of the over 170 amendments made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

Introduction of a new Bill would involve some procedural issues. The government was required to circulate a new Bill to the MPs at least two days in advance and could be introduced only five days after it was circulated.

The Speaker could waive the required period for circulation by a day and give permission for introduction without waiting for five days.

Mr. Bansal said that if the Cabinet approved the Bill on Tuesday it could be circulated the same day and moved for consideration and passage either on Wednesday or Thursday.

While the current session is scheduled to end on Thursday, the government has already requested the members to be prepared for another day. In the event of its passage in the Lok Sabha after eight hours of debate, it could go to the Rajya Sabha the next day.

Earlier in the day, Law Minister Salman Khursheed said a group of senior Ministers was working on the draft of the proposed changes to the Bill and expressed the hope that it would be completed at the most by Tuesday night.

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