Rajya Sabha sends anti-graft bill to select panel
| Tuesday, December 8, 2015 - 08:59
New Delhi: A bill to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act to make giving a bribe a specific offence, was sent to a select committee of the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
The bill makes giving of a bribe an offence for individuals and commercial organisations, enlarges the definition of taking a bribe, and deletes the provision that protects a bribe giver from prosecution for any statement made by him during a corruption trial.
"The amendment that is to be brought in this bill, those rights have been given to Lokpal instead. If everything is to be decided by Lokpal, what is the point of this bill? It should be sent to a select committee," said Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal as the bill was taken up in the upper house.
In reponse, Minister of State for Personnel and Public Grievances Jitendra Singh said: "It is true there was a court litigation on this issue. In totality, it is true that the permission therein is rested with Lokpal. For the members, there is a room to take a call how much to give out and how much to keep on its side."
"It is a grey area, we do not want to appear to be shirking away from giving our authority to Lokpal," he added.
As there appeared a consensus overall on sending the bill to the select committee, Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said he was "deferring the discussion" on the issue as the "sense of the House is to send it to the select committee".
He also asked the government to come out with a motion with names of members of different parties for the panel.