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Friday, August 26, 2011

HISTORY OF LOK PAL BILL: 43 years, eight Lokpal bills, zero consensus!

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New Delhi: India's effort to have an anti-graft ombudsman in the form of a Lokpal institution may have caught national attention only now. But Parliament has made eight attempts since 1968 to pass a Lokpal bill, a different version each time, all in vain.

The bill was first brought before the fourth Lok Sabha in 1968 and passed in 1969. However, the house was dissolved, resulting in the first death of the bill.

The legislation was revived in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, and 2001, but never survived.

In September 2004, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government would lose no time in enacting the bill.

It finally took a mass mobilisation by Anna Hazare and his associates in April this year to get the government to work on the Lokpal bill and bring it to Parliament.

The issue has gathered momentum with his current fast, which Friday entered its 11th day.

The latest Lokpal bill introduced in the Lok Sabha Aug 4 is the ninth version of the legislation before Parliament. It is has been referred to a parliamentary standing committee and Parliament will decide its fate.

From 1968 to 2011, the bill has come before Parliament under seven prime ministers beginning with Indira Gandhi.

Of them, only VP Singh, HD Deve Gowda and Atal Bihari Vajpayee agreed to have prime ministers under the law's purview. However, none of these eight bills had the judiciary under its purview.

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