Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily on Friday refused to be drawn into the confusion involving certain members of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee. He said the Union government was firm in its resolve to introduction of the Bill in the monsoon session of Parliament.
Speaking to presspersons after attending a convention of southern States advocates and human rights delegates here, Mr. Moily said the Centre was committed to placing the Bill before Parliament and that it was the government's “chief and primary objective.”
Asked whether Congress leaders themselves were questioning the background of a few of the committee members, he said he hoped that all would maintain calm till the next meeting, scheduled for May 2. The first meeting had concluded very well, he added.
Mr. Moily denied that the process of drafting the Bill was being delayed owing to certain confusions in the recent days involving a couple of members in the committee. “There is no question of being happy or unhappy at this stage. Everything will fall into place in the next meeting.”
Asked about Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde's reported disinclination to continue as a member of the committee, he said Mr. Hegde was a senior professional who had served the Supreme Court and as the Lokayukta. Mr. Moily said he would not issue counter-statements for statements issued by other members of the committee, as it would serve no purpose.
No one should question the commitment of the Union government over the Lokpal Bill, he said and appealed to every member to cooperate in making the Bill a reality.
After Congress president Sonia Gandhi had “declared a war on corruption in the country,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) to discuss the issue and submit a report to him at the earliest. The GoM had met at least 10 times, said Mr. Moily.
To a question on the delay in approving the Justice Majitihia Wage Board recommendations for journalists and other newspaper employees, he said the bill had to come before the Cabinet after due approvals by several departments.