Union Cabinet likely to discuss anti-graft ordinances tomorrow: TV report
The Union Cabinet is likely to convene a special meeting on Sunday to reportedly debate and discuss the way forward on key anti-graft legislations.
According to television channel reports, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, will preside over the meeting.
Television reports said the Cabinet is seriously considering applying the ordinance route to ensure activation of these Bills aimed at controlling and countering corruption across the nation.
On Thursday, there were last minute concerns in the government over whether President Pranab Mukherjee will be amenable to signing six ordinances days before the general elections are to be announced.
Presidential assent needs to be carefully weighed as the ordinances are likely to be challenged in court.
Rashtrapati Bhavan, according to some media reports, would want to be fully convinced about the rationale for rushing through with the ordinances, and this would be seen as a major embarrassment for the government.
The ordinances were reportedly discussed at the meeting of the Congress core group, comprising Sonia Gandhi, the PM and top ministers, on Friday evening.
The bills did not pass muster in Parliament due to disruptions, but are seen to be backed by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi who has taken up anti-corruption legislations vigorously after the emergence of the Aam Aadmi Party and the losses in four major state elections.
Some disquiet was evident with an amendment to the Whistleblowers Bill that had sought to prevent a person who leaks or divulges official secrets claiming immunity not being part of the six ordinances. It was pointed out that the bill, passed by Parliament on February 21, had not yet received presidential assent.
Apart from the Security and Exchange Board of India (Amendment) Bill, there were six ordinances to be taken up, including the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, the Right of Citizens for Time-bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of Grievances Bill, the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, Rights of Persons with Disability Bill and the Delhi HC Act (Amendment) Bill.
The opposition claims the move to rush through with the ordinances is intended to earn political brownie points for the government.
(Posted on 02-03-2014)