The much-debated Lokpal Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday amid objections from the BJP and its NDA partners over exclusion of the Prime Minister from the purview of the proposed legislation.
Just before introduction of the bill, Speaker Meira Kumar gave permission to Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj to express her views as a special case under Rule 72.
Swaraj said when the Prime Minister does not enjoy immunity from prosecution under the criminal law and Prevention of Corruption Act, why is he being kept out of the ambit of the Lokpal.She maintained that as per the Constitution, everybody was equal and there is no immunity from IPC, CrPC or the Prevention of Corruption Act.
“It is for the first time that under Clause 2 of the Lokpal Bill, all Union ministers are included except the Prime Minister. I don’t understand why. How can anybody occupying any position be a holy cow. Why is the Prime Minister being kept out of its purview?” Swaraj posed.
She stated that then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had put the debate to rest during NDA rule by saying that if he is not under its purview it will have no meaning.
She was referring to the Lokpal Bill proposed by the NDA government which was ultimately not introduced in Parliament.
“As chairperson of the then Standing Committee on Home, Pranab Mukherjee had accepted that the Prime Minister should be within the purview of the Lokpal. The Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) has himself said he wants to be within its ambit. Why is the Cabinet not paying heed to his views?” she asked.