SHILLONG, Dec 14 � A deeply divided Meghalaya Assembly today passed the �historic� Meghalaya Lokayukta Bill 2012, without discussion, but the Opposition NCP walked out insisting that it would do nothing to be on the �wrong side of history.�
Leader of the Opposition, Conrad Sangma, calling the Bill �flawed and a carbon copy of the Lokayukta Act of 2002� wanted a discussion so that suitable changes could be made. However, Speaker Charles Pyngrope and Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, along with members from the treasury, said that amendments, if required, can also be made later.
Some of the members from the Congress and its ally UDP said that the Bill should be passed in its current form so that the present House could be part of a �historic moment� � as today was the last day of the 8th Legislative Assembly, with the State headed for polls in the next few months.
Conrad Sangma said that it would be �selfish� on part of the members to pass a �flawed Bill just for pride,� saying �we (Opposition) would not try to create history in the wrong way and be on the wrong side of history.�
Members from the civil society, who got their hand on the circulated Bill, displayed placards against the Chief Minister and the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance Government from the visitors� gallery. They later displayed placards against the Bill and shouted slogans against the Chief Minister, and others outside the Assembly as they whisked off in their official vehicles.
Earlier, as soon as the Bill was tabled and considered by the House, the Leader of the Opposition rose and wanted a discussion on it. A brief exchange of ideas took place and some of the members wanted that a special session of the House be convened to discuss the Bill and bring in necessary changes.
�The Bill is not strong enough and is a carbon copy of the earlier Lokayukta Act, and importantly, we did not get to go through it properly as it was circulated to us this morning. So we need to have a discussion and must not rush through,� Conrad Sangma said.
UDP�s Paul Lyngdoh pointed out that the section of the Bill that mentions about complaints has been made so cumbersome that it would deter complainants. Moreover, no member from the civil society can become part of the Lokayukta with provisions for only members from the legal fraternity in the Bill.
He, as well as suspended UDP legislator Ardent Basiawmoit and other members from the NCP, sought a special House session for further discussion on the Bill, which was rejected by the Speaker.