Lokpal committee members should come with open mind

New Delhi: Days before the Joint Drafting Committee meets for the first time to prepare a stronger Lokpal Bill, government today said members should come with an open mind and refrain from drawing lines beyond which they would not retreat.

"What is happening with this Committee is before the Committee meets, everybody is giving their point of view and suggestions and drawing lines beyond which they will not retreat. I think it is not good for a negotiating atmosphere," Water Resources Minister Slaman Khurshid told reporters here.

Part of the 10-member panel set up recently, Khurshid was apparently indicating at the tough stance adopted by the five members of the civil society who are part of the Committee.

"We must go with an open mind. Everybody knows the context, everybody knows constrains. Let`s see how much of these constrains we can overcome and how much of the context we can understand together," he said.

He said the Committee should reach an understanding acceptable to the people on the draft Lok Pal Bill at the earliest.

Replying to a question on reported disagreement among opposition parties on allowing representatives of the civil society to be involved in drafting a legislation, Khurshid said anybody can make suggestions and draft bills.

"Who stops anybody from drafting anything. The point is whether, as we move forward, that can become part of the institutional process. How that can be done is something we will talk about.

The Committee, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Muhkerjee and co-chaired by former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan is meeting on Saturday.