New Delhi: The Union Government is expected to break its silence on jurisdiction of Lokpal after the next meeting of the Joint Drafting Committee (JDC) on Saturday. In the previous meeting on May 2, veteran social activist Anna Hazare and other non-government members of the committee had put forth their views for the need of the bill, and discussed the main provisions of the draft.

The third JDC meeting is scheduled to be held in the office of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee at around 4:30 pm on May 7. It is being assumed that after remaining mum on the issue for a long, Union government may announce its view on the jurisdiction of Lokpal after the meeting.

In the previous two meetings, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister P Chidambaram have avoided commenting on the issue. Albeit, in the last meeting it was only after the consent from Chidambaram that Shanti Bhushan made an elaborate presentation on the need and motive of the draft. According to the strategy prepared by Mukherjee, it is now the turn of government members of JDC to make their views.

When asked about the meeting, one of the non-government members of the committee said, “Even though government is taking the issue seriously, but we have to remain alert all the time.”

The issue of video recording of the JDC meetings is likely to be raised on Saturday. Earlier, Mukherjee had approved the audio recording, but did not clear his stand on the video recording. In the last meeting, Anna Hazare had raised the issue of video recording.

JDC for Lokpal Bill is jointly headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Shanti Bhushan, and has five government and five non government members. 

Union Ministers P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, M Veerappa Moily and Salman Khurshid are the four remaining government representatives in the committee, whereas Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, Santosh Hegde and Prashant Bhushan are from the civil society side.

The committee will hold next meet on May 7, 23 and 30.

JPN/Bureau