Lower house passes anti-corruption bill
The lower house of the Indian parliament, the Lok Sabha, passed an anti-corruption bill which will establish an independent ombudsman with powers to prosecute politicians and civil servants.
Although the bill was passed, the controversy has not ended. Up to 25 members of the ruling Indian Congress Party (IPA) were not present at the vote and, as a result, the government failed in its attempt to give the bill constitutional status.
The bill will not give the ombudsman investigative powers which anti corruption supporters, led by 74 year old campaigner Anna Hazare, had been demanding. Mr Hazare described the bill that has been passed as ‘useless’.
The bill still has to pass through the upper house or Rajya Sabha where it is expected to be presented on Thursday. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, of which the Indian Congress Party is the largest component, do not have a majority in the upper house and therefore are reliant upon opposition votes.
The Whistleblowers Bill (Protection to Persons Making Disclosures Bill, 2010) was also passed by the Lok Sabha.