Govt looks to ordinance route for Rahul Gandhi's anti-graft legislation

Hard pressed for an anti-graft stance and a pro-poor face, the Manmohan Singh government is expected to introduce four ordinances to pass pending anti-corruption legislation after the Parliament prorogues at the close of the winter session.

The legislation is necessary to give the Congress party and its vice-president Rahul Gandhi the much-needed boost ahead of the Election Commission announces the Lok Sabha polls and the model code of conduct comes into operation.

The decision to take the ordinance route to pass the cosmetic legislation follows after "last minute" attempt to pass anti-corruption bills failed amidst continued disruptions of Parliament's proceedings and opposition BJP's refusal to support the passage of the legislation.

The anti-graft legislation is necessary for the Congress party and its vice-president Rahul Gandhi to put up a brave face against accumulated corruption charges and the poll debacles in major states in December.

The cabinet committee on parliamentary affairs is meeting today to take the decision to prorogue Parliament that was adjourned sine die on 21 February.

The government has readied ordinances on four key legislations - the Judicial Standards and Accountability bill, Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Grievance Redressal bill, Prevention of Corruption (amendment) bill and the Disability Rights bill, according to law ministry sources.

The Congress party also seems to have assurances about Rashtrapati Bhavan signing the ordinances before moving for Cabinet approval.

The President must give his assent to the ordinances by this weekend as next week the Election Commission is likely to notify the parliamentary polls. After notification of elections, the code of conduct would prevent promulgation of any ordinance.

The Parliament, which is adjourned sine die now, can be reconvened at a short notice.

The President is yet to receive the government's request to prorogue Parliament and unless the Presidential notification about Parliament being prorogued is issued, no ordinance can be issued.