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Friday, 7 October 2011

Views of former CJI MN Venkatachaliah and JS Verma called on Lokpal

The parliamentary panel examining the Lokpal Bill has sought the views of former Chief Justices of India MN Venkatachaliah and JS Verma on setting up an anti-corruption ombudsman.

Venkatachaliah and Verma have been invited for recording their views on the Lokpal before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice at its meeting to be held in the next 8-10 days.

Venkatachaliah was the Chief Justice of India between 1993-94 and also headed the National Commission to review the working of the Constitution.

He has reportedly said that any Lokpal set-up has its own limitations and would survive only if it takes into account the need to strengthen every other institution of constitutional safeguards.

Verma headed the first commission on the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and is known for several significant judgments including the ones in the infamous Hawala case and Ayodhya land dispute in which he ruled that acquiring the property of a mosque did not constitute an abridgement of a Muslim's right to freedom of religious belief and practice.

Verma is also known for his judgment in which he stated that Hindutva depicted 'a way of life which cannot be assumed to mean and be equated per se with narrow fundamentalist Hindu religious bigotry'.

He is known to have favoured keeping the higher judiciary and the prime minister out of the purview of the proposed Lokpal Bill.

Verma had also favoured a "separate mechanism" to make high court and Supreme Court judges accountable for misconduct.


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