Govt open to suggestions on Lokpal Bill: Moily

Govt open to suggestions on Lokpal Bill: Moily

New Delhi: A day after social activist Anna Hazare launched his fast-unto-death on the Lokpal Bill issue, Government on Wednesday said it was open to any suggestion on the proposed legislation and had not turned down his demand for a joint committee.

Union law minister M Veerappa Moily said that the government was open to suggestions even though it was “anxious to introduce the Bill in the next session".

He said the government “did not say no" on demand for a joint committee to draft the bill after a sub-committee of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on corruption held discussions with representatives of Hazare and other members of civil society.

“Even on the demand for joint committee, we said we were open. We never closed our mind even on the formation of joint committee…In principle we did not say no," Moily said adding, that the prime minister was open to all suggestions on the bill.

He said though the bill has already been drafted, it will not “find a finality" unless it goes to Parliamentary Standing Committee.

“The Standing Committee can always throw it open to discussions and deliberations with everyone. No bill is passed in hide and seek manner. Parliament has the most transparent way of functioning in our country," Moily said.

72-year-old Hazare is observing a fast-unto-death demanding enactment of an anti-corruption bill to give wider powers to the Ombudsman. He is pressing for formation of a joint committee comprising 50% officials and the remaining citizens and intellectuals to draft the Bill.