Saturday, April 16, 2011

Is the court above the law? [Update]

Going into the first meeting of the joint committee to draft the Lokpal Bill, Anna Hazare debated the question of inclusion of the higher judiciary in the purview of the Ombudsman with his colleagues.

Now, the Chief Justice of India, S. H. Kapadia has also thrown his support for open scrutiny.  "We need clean men in black robes.", he said. "Like other organs, judiciary must also be subjected to fair criticism."

"The judge should not accept patronage through which he acquires office, preferential treatment or pre-retirement assignment. These can give rise to corruption if and when quid pro quo makes a demand on such judges", he said

Source: Topnews

Earlier today, civil society representatives presented a new draft bill, more pleasing to the government.  Reputed lawyer and committee member, Prashant Bhushan said the changes related to the selection panel to choose the Lokpal.

The meeting was audio-recorded and not video-graphed as requested but the meeting minutes and not the audio recording will be made public.

The committee will meet next on May 2 to discuss existing draft versions of the bill in detail.  By all accounts, the first meeting was a success, perhaps even an "historic event" in the words of committee member, Kapil Sibal.

Update. The first public consultation on the Lokpal bill threw up a recommendation for a separate mechanism to check accountability in the judiciary.


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