New Delhi: In a strange coincidence, Rahul Gandhi's idea of conferring Constitutional status on Lokpal failed in the Lok Sabha much like his father Rajiv Gandhi's Panchayati Raj Bill 22 years ago.
A BJP MP sought to strike an ominous note of coincidence claiming that government of the day was not lucky whenever the Lokpal Bill was taken up and on occasions, the Lok Sabha was also dissolved.
The Constitution (116th Amendment) Bill to confer Constitutional status on Lokpal was defeated in the Lok Sabha late on Tuesday night by a determined Opposition, helped by the absence of parties supporting the government from outside like SP, BSP and RJD.
It was a repeat of the scenes in Rajya Sabha in 1989 when the Opposition combined to defeat the statute amendment bill to confer Constitutional status to Panchayat Raj institutions.
Soon after the late Prime Minister dissolved Lok Sabha and went to polls which his party lost. But a bill to confer Constitutional status to Panchayati Raj instititutions was passed after the Congress returned to power in 1991.
About the other coincidence, BJP Deputy Leader in the Rajya Sabha S S Ahluwalia claims that when Parliament had taken up the Lokpal Bill for considerations, there were occasions when the Lok Sabha got dissolved.
He said this has been the case since 1968. That year, The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill was introduced on May nine. It was referred to the Select Committee of Parliament.
It was passed in the Lok Sabha as "The Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 1969" on August 20 1969. However, before this Bill could be passed by the Rajya Sabha, the Fourth Lok Sabha was dissolved and consequently this Bill lapsed.
Then on August 11, 1971 another Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill was introduced. It was neither referred to any Committee, nor passed by any House. It lapsed consequent upon the dissolution of the Fifth Lok Sabha.
Later, the Lokpal bill was brought on July 28, 1977. It was referred to a Joint Select Committee of both the Houses of Parliament. Before the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee could be considered, the Sixth Lok Sabha was dissolved and consequently this Bill also lapsed.
The Lokpal Bill, 1985 was introduced on August 28 that year and referred to a Joint Select Committee of Parliament. However, the Bill was withdrawn by the then Government because of its inadequacy to cover different types of situations.
While withdrawing it, the Government of the day said it would later come forward with a comprehensive legislation to deal with redress of public grievances.
The Lokpal Bill came again in 1989 as it was introduced on December 29. However, the Bill lapsed consequent upon the issolution of the Ninth Lok Sabha on 13th March, 1991.
The United Front government introduced yet another bill on the issue on Sept 13, 1996. It was referred to the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs for examination and report. The Standing Committee presented its report to Parliament on May 9, 1997 making wide ranging amendments to the various provisions of the Bill.
Before the Government could finalise its stand on the various recommendations of the Standing Committee, the Eleventh Lok Sabha was dissolved.
The last such measure was brought on August 14, 2001 by the BJP-led NDA Government. It was referred to the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs for examination and report but the Government bowed out of office in May 2004.