Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily on Wednesday indicated that the government would hold discussions with the Bharatiya Janata Party and Left parties, which were opposed to the Nuclear Liability Bill, and did not rule out the possibility of raising the compensation cap of Rs. 500 crore on nuclear equipment suppliers as proposed.

Speaking to journalists here, he said the United Progressive Alliance government and the Congress believed that there should be some discussion over the proposed legislation to take “everyone along” in the matter.

Mr. Moily, however, did not agree with the argument of the Opposition that the compensation cap of Rs. 500 crore on the operator was unreasonable.

Electoral reforms

Stating that a “surgery” was required for cleansing the election process, he said a two-day national workshop on comprehensive electoral reforms would be held in Bangalore in June to which political parties, academics and experts would be invited.

Asked about people facing criminal charges contesting elections, the Minister agreed that there was need to stop people facing serious criminal charges from contesting polls and to curb both “criminalisation and communalisation” of politics. The government would consider various reports on electoral reforms before amending the relevant laws. It was finalising the dates of the workshop and holding deliberations on the issues to be discussed.

Referring to Pakistani-American David Headley, who is allegedly involved in plotting the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, he said: “The U.S., one day or the other, will have to agree to extradite Headley to India for interrogation.” Headley was involved in the terror attacks and India had rightly sought access to interrogate him.

“We do not want to pass a value judgment on the policy of the U.S.,” he said when asked whether it was proper on the part of the U.S. to deny access to Headley when India had allowed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to interrogate Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani, only terrorist arrested during attacks on Mumbai.

However, Mr. Moily said, “India needs to hard press the argument as a strong bargaining and tell them (the U.S.) about our necessity.”