Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily, Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan and Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati have decided against going to the U.S. after the Ministry of External Affairs informed them, through a letter, that the programme they proposed to attend did not merit their participation.

They were planning to attend a three-day programme at the Dean Rusk Centre for International Legal Studies at the University of Georgia beginning on April 2.

In a letter to Bhupinder Prasad, Secretary (Justice) in the Law Ministry, Vivek Katju, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs, raised an issue of protocol, saying that the level of participation from the U.S. did not warrant such a high-level delegation from India. But he left it open to them to go ahead with the programme if they wished.

However, Mr. Moily declined to say anything more other than saying that they had cancelled the trip.

He told reporters that the government would seek to get the Women's Reservation Bill passed in the Lok Sabha during the second half of the current session of Parliament, which re-convenes on April 15.

Asked about the Judicial Accountability Bill, which seeks to set certain standards for judges, Mr. Moily said he was “anxious” that the legislation should come up for discussion in Parliament at the earliest.

The Bill was considered at a recent meeting of the Union Cabinet and referred to a Group of Ministers for a further review after differences among some senior Cabinet members on certain provisions.

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