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Ordinance route likely for Rahul’s four bills

Concerned over the continuous disruption in the ongoing Parliament session, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is considering a move to bring in ordinances for the four anti-corruption bills out of six, which are pending in Lok Sabha.

It seems that Gandhi is in a hurry to go the ‘ordinance way’ anticipating that the government will not be able to pass the bills due to protests over issues including Telangana. The bills, which he wants to take through the ordinance way, are: Prevention of Corruption Bill 2013 (pending in Lok Sabha), Right of Citizens to Time-bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievance Bill 2011 (pending in Lok Sabha), the Public Procurement Bill 2013 (pending in Lok Sabha), the Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Official and Officials of Public International Organisations Bill, 2011 (pending in Lok Sabha).

Talking about Gandhi’s apparent restlessness in finalising the ordinance especially the four bills, a senior official in the union law ministry said: ‘If the bills, which are pending in the Lok Sabha, are not enacted immediately in the current session they will expire with the announcement of Lok Sabha election schedule. On Friday, a meeting was held to discuss the issue where union law minister Kapil Sibal was present.’

Asked whether there would be separate ordinances for the four anti-graft bills or they will be merged in a single ordinance, he said, while ruling out the possibility of proroguing the session, ‘It is yet to be decided.’

However, Gandhi is not ‘restless’ over the Whistleblowers Protection Bill, 2011 and Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill 2010, which are pending in the Rajya Sabha because they will not lapse as it is a 
permanent House.

Party sources said Gandhi desperately wants to pass the bills in Parliament but if his party fails to do so, there will be the ordinance route left to clean up the Congress’ image that has been tainted by 
several allegations of scams during the UPA regime.

 ‘With the passing of the bills or the ordinance, Gandhi  wants to convey that his party has zero tolerance towards corruption by bringing such laws ahead of the upcoming general election. Once the ordinance is done, it will be the next government’s duty to pass these bills in Parliament. But the credit will go to the UPA for bringing the ordinance,’ senior party sources said.

Earlier, on 18 December, 2013, Gandhi had decided to bring six sets of anti-corruption legislations after suffering a major setback in the assembly polls. 

It was surmised that scams and corruption were the main issues that had an impact in the poll results.

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