New Delhi, Dec 27: The much-awaited Lokpal Bill was today taken up for consideration by the Lok Sabha on a stormy note with the Opposition demanding its withdrawal contending it was full of deficiencies, even as the government asserted that it had sought to strike a fine balance.
Moving the Bill for consideration, Minister for Personnel V Narayanasamy asserted the supremacy of Parliament saying "we need to bow our heads to this House only and not before anyone else", apparently referring to Anna Hazare.
Narayanasamy contended that the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill had several unique features like confiscation of properties of any person believed to have committed an offence relating to corruption.
As the minister was speaking, RJD chief Lalu Prasad was on his feet claiming that the Lokpal Bill was an attack on the federal structure of the Constitution.
When Narayanasamy referred to setting up of Lokayuktas and lack of anti-corruption ombudsman in Gujarat, AIADMK and BJP members were on their feet shouting slogans against the government.
Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj dubbed the Bill as full of deficiencies and wanted "the weak bill" to be sent back to the Parliamentary Standing Committee so as to make it "effective and strong".
"Accept our amendments or withdraw the Bill... Send it back to standing committee for further discussion," she said while describing it as a "patently unconstitutional" legislation which the Opposition will not "tolerate".
Prasad also demanded withdrawal of the Bill contending that it was brought in "haste under pressure" from Anna Hazare.
Tearing into the Bill presented by the government, Swaraj said the Lokpal Bill in its present form would “sow the seeds of second partition” as it has the provision for religion-based reservation which was “patently unconstitutional”.
“I warn you that you should not sow the seeds of second partition by going in for religion-based reservation,” she told the Prime Minister, adding that Manmohan Singh had himself suffered the trauma and pain of the tragedy.
Noting that what was being sought to be passed would not be good for the country, Swaraj reminded Singh that he had himself narrated an Urdu couplet once in the House - ‘lamhon ne khata ki, sadiyon ne saza payee' (a mistake committed in minutes have led to ages of suffering).
The Leader of the Opposition also raised objections to several issues including creation of Lokayukta through the Lokpal Bill and the process of appointment and removal of the ombudsman and demanded inclusion of CBI under its ambit, saying she had moved amendments on these counts.
She dismissed as “farce” the way the bill has included the Prime Minister in its purview. “You have brought the Prime Minister with a lot of protection so that no one will be able to touch him,” she said.
Swaraj questioned the provision for in-camera proceedings and disallowing making public these proceedings even through RTI.
HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, who led the Congress counter-charge, hit out at the BJP saying it had “political motives” to delay the Bill so that it benefits them in the upcoming polls through Anna Hazare's campaign.
“If you oppose this Bill, you will be violating the sense of the House and people will never forgive you,” he told the Opposition.