Thursday, December 22, 2011

Govt burns midnight oil for bill, literally (Indian Express)

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Senior government ministers who claimed that the two Lokpal bills — the second giving constitutional status to the ombudsman — would be circulated among MPs today, had possibly not anticipated that till late on Wednesday night, the bills would not even be printed.
Staff at the government press on Delhi’s Minto Road had a long night ahead on Wednesday — working to print enough copies of the bills in English and Hindi so that each MP gets one. They were expected to be circulated after dawn tomorrow — straight off the press and only hours before their introduction in the house.
Sources said the president cleared the Lokpal bill only this evening — after the law ministry apparently took its time to finalise the Statement of Objects and Reasons. The government must now persuade the Lok Sabha speaker to waive the window that must be left between the circulation and introduction of a bill.
Under Lok Sabha rules, copies of bills must be made available to members at least two days in advance. The speaker can waive this “if the minister concerned gives adequate reasons”. It was not known on Wednesday what reason Personnel Minister V Narayanasamy would present.
There is another roadbump: Lok Sabha rules says a bill which is dependent on another can be passed only after the main bill has gone through. Experts said that since the government is introducing a constitution amendment bill along with the Lokpal bill, the latter can’t be passed until the former is passed.

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