New Delhi, Dec 30: Constitutional experts were today divided on who should be blamed for the fiasco over Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha, holding both the Government as also the Opposition responsible for leaving the historic legislation in limbo.
Describing the midnight high drama in the Upper House as unprecedented in the history of Parliament, former Chief Justice of India V N Khare said that interest of the nation is taking back seat and MPs are more concerned about individual interest.
“I was awake till midnight and was observing the proceedings. I was amazed to see what was happening in the House. Nobody thinks in terms of nation and they think about their own self,” Justice Khare told PTI.
He said that the opposition was raising questions on federalism but the state governments would not implement the law if it is not made mandatory for them.
“Parliamentarians were raising questions on federalism but it is a truth that no state would implement it if it is not made mandatory. No one wants to go to jail like B S Yeddyurappa (former Karnataka Chief Minister),” he said.
Holding the Centre responsible for it, constitutional expert Subhash C Kashyap said the House is supreme and the government should have put the bill for voting in the Upper House.
“As a student of the Constitution and a historian of the Parliamentary democracy, I think it is an unprecedented situation. It is most unfortunate and an ugly scar in the history of Parliamentary democracy,” he said.
There is no such rule that proceeding would not continue after midnight without Presidential intervention. I have witnessed many proceedings which continued till morning. The house is the master of itself. The Government is not above the House but House is above the Government,” Kashyap said, adding, voting was avoided on a “frivolous alibi”.
Giving a new perspective to the bill, noted legal expert and senior advocate P P Rao said that it seems to be a money bill and the suggestion given by Rajya Sabha was not binding and the bill can be passed by the Lok Sabha.
“According to me, it is a money bill as it requires appropriation of money out of the consolidated fund of India. There is a special procedure for it in Parliament under Article 109 of the Constitution. Under the article, Rajya Sabha can only recommend changes in the bill after it has been passed by the Lok Sabha and it is for the Lok Sabha to decide whether to accept or reject those recommendations,” Rao said.
“According to me, there was no need for voting on Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha and only amendments passed by majority voting in Rajya Sabha should have been sent to Lok Sabha for consideration,” he said.
He further said that opposition was not keen on passing the bill which led to impasse.
“As a citizen not involved in politics, I think Congress was at least interested in passing some bill but opposition was not keen. It is disappointing,” he said.