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Lokpal Bill conference split on its scope

Posted by on April 25, 2011 0 Comment

Participants at a conference to discuss the Lokpal issue felt on Sunday that higher judiciary should be kept out of the proposed law against corruption. They were also divided on bringing the Prime Minister under the law’s ambit.

The conference, attended by two former chief justices of Supreme Court and four members of the Lokpal drafting committee, including Mr Santosh Hegde, felt there should be a separate mechanism to deal with any instances of corruption in the higher judiciary.

Speaking to the mediapersons after taking part in the day-long round table conference, under the banner of Citizens for Public Accountability (CPA), retired Supreme Court chief justices M.N. Venkatachalaiah and J.S. Verma said, “Judicial accountability has to be there but not as part of Lokpal. To curb the corruption in the higher judiciary, a better mechanism is required.”

The retired judges claimed that the civil society representatives in the joint committee to draft the Lokpal bill also felt that higher judiciary should be kept out of Lokpal’s ambit.

However, on the issue as to whether Lokpal should have jurisdiction over the Prime Minister, they said there were differences of opinion at the meeting. “We believe that the Prime Minister should be accountable only politically, looking into the instability in the state and its international ramifications. However, there were divergent opinions and we could not come to a conclusion and left it to Parliament to take a decision,” they said.

Issues pertaining to integration of the CVC, CBI and Lokpal and creation of strong and independent Lokayuktas in states were also discussed at the conference.

Former law minister Shanti Bhushan, his son Prashant Bhushan, RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal (all members of Lokpal drafting committee), retired Chief Election Commissioner T.S. Krishnamurthy and former Chief Vigilance commissioner Pratyush Sinha also participated in the conference. Asian Age

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