Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday said his government was in the process of conducting comparative studies of Lokayukta Acts of various states and would take a decision on enacting the same only if its provisions are not included in the Centre's Lokpal Bill.
Addressing a press conference after an hour-long meeting with anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare, the chief minister said the Lokpal Bill was likely to be passed in the current session of Parliament.
"I feel that the Lokayukta aspect will not be included in the Lokpal Bill. I had written to Centre to enact a model law of Lokayukta so that all states can adopt their own act as per the model law," he said, adding that the Centre was favourable to this proposal.
"However, if the model law also does not come out, we will begin the process of enacting a strong Lokayukta here," he said, adding that the state was studying the Karnataka and Uttarakhand acts, the Jan Lokayukta draft of Anna Hazare with the Maharashtra act.
When asked about the meeting with Hazare, Chavan described it as "cordial". Anna has given me another draft of his bill today," Chavan said. The chief minister further said he would discuss the issue with the union law minister during his next visit to Delhi.
"Anna requested me to enact a strong Lokayukta Act as the present one is toothless. According to him the existing provisions are only recommendatory and not obligatory. we broadly agree with him and feel that a strong anti corruption law is necessary," Chavan said.
Chavan said he views Hazare's tour of 35 districts of the state beginning from May 1 as a mass awareness campaign and not as an agitation against government. The chief minister said that the second draft given by Hazare will also be examined.
"Anna is trying to build a consensus about stern measures to curb corruption," he said.
When asked about Hazare's criticism that corruption had not come down during his tenure as chief minister, Chavan said he was also fighting it but did have a magic wand to eradicate it overnight.
He said in Lokayukta acts in other states as well as the one proposed by Hazare, chief minister and legislators come under the ambit of the law whereas in Maharashtra only ministers are covered. Hazare also met deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar at Sahyadri Guest House.