In a clear signal of slowing down the pace of announcements on legal reforms initiated by his predecessor, the law minister Salman Khurshid has said there is no proposal to make new laws on right to justice and for protection of journalists from crimes against them.
Khurshid’s maiden replies as law minister in response to written queries in both Houses of Parliament directly contradict the statements of his predecessor, M Veerappa Moily.
In reply to a question in the Lok Sabha on “whether the government proposes to bring a new law on right to justice,” Khurshid’s brief reply was a bluntly in the negative.
“No such proposal is under consideration,” he stated, rendering all other related questions as “irrelevant”.
Before being shifted to the corporate affairs ministry, Moily had gone public with his intention to bring a law to ensure time bound justice for the citizens and free legal services for the poor.
“We want to bring a law to make right to justice a right guaranteed under the Constitution, like the right to education. Our intention is to introduce it in the Monsoon session of parliament We want no poor citizen to be deprived of his rights,” Moily had announced on June 17.
The draft bill for right to justice prepared during Moily’s tenure had provided for speedy trials by laying down a 60-90 day timeline for inquiry and a three-year deadline for completion of court proceedings.
In response to a separate question in the Rajya Sabha on whether the “ministry is working on a bill aimed at protecting journalists from crimes against them,” Khurshid again differed with Moily.
“No…….not under consideration,” he replied, contradicting Moily’s announcement made soon after the murder of journalist, J Dey. Moily had said the Centre was planning to make a new law to protect journalists.