Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily Thursday said that if the logjam between government representatives and civil society members on the anti-graft Lokpal bill continues in the joint drafting panel’s meeting June 20, the union cabinet would be apprised of the differences among members but it would not be presented two drafts.
‘There will be no two drafts,’ he told reporters at a press conference here and ruled out the possibility of government representatives and civil society members drafting their own separate versions of the Lokpal bill for cabinet’s consideration.
The stand taken by Moily, who is the convenor of joint drafting committee, is contrary to the claim made by activist Arvind Kejriwal that two separate draft bills on Lokpal would be sent to the cabinet.
The next meeting of the panel is slated for June 20.
While describing reformer Anna Hazare and his team’s approach in fighting corruption as ‘obstructionists’, Moily said they were shifting stances and demands, and this would not help in achieving the mandate of the committee.
Moily said the government representatives accepted 34 of the 40 suggestions by the members of the civil society.
He said that the government had made its position clear by putting every bit of information on its website.
The law minister said there were differences between the government representatives and members of the civil society on key issues, including on bringing the judiciary under the purview of Lokpal, scrutiny of the conduct of the members of legislatures, action against government employees and bringing the prime minister within the ambit of the ombudsman.
On being asked about Hazare’s proposal to once again go on fast in support of his demand for a stringent Lokpal bill, Moily said: ‘Nobody could be stopped from undertaking a fast but the question is for what ends.’
The minister said that it showed a ‘pre-determined mindset’ and did not positively reflect democratic expression of views.
Moily said that the government would stick to its stand and finalise the Lokpal bill by June 30 so that it could be introduced in parliament during the coming monsoon session.