Supreme court defers hearing of PIL against Lokpal committee

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Supreme Court of India
New Delhi, April 29: The formation of the joint committee for drafting the "Lokpal Bill" has got another shot in the arm as the Supreme Court of India has refused a petition asking it to interfere in the matter.

The bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, S H Kapadia, adjourned the hearing on three PILs to July despite being informed that the joint committee would complete its work by June 30.

The bench comprising the CJI, justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar said, "The petitions are premature and can't be taken as the Lokpal Bill was yet to be passed..."It is still not the law."

The PILs, filed by some individuals and advocates had challenged the government notification for the formation of the joint committee to draft the Lokpal Bill and said that the Lokpal cannot act as a watchdog over the judiciary as it would be unconstitutional.

In the petition, counsel R K Kapoor had said, "Whether a decision affecting the whole of the nation can be taken so suddenly without having a public debate on such a national issue of great public importance? Whether the government could take an action under the threat or pressure from one of the citizens of the country and whether this would not create a bad precedent for future? Ultimately the government succumbed to the pressure of Anna Hazare and hurriedly came out with a resolution on April 8 2011."

The petitioners also stated, "Enactment of Lokpal would be against the spirit of Article 50 of the Constitution of India. It will wipe out the separation of the judiciary from the executive."

"A decision affecting the whole nation cannot be taken so suddenly without having a public debate on such a national issue of great public importance. The government cannot take action under threat or pressure from one of the citizens of the country and such succumbing to pressure tactics would create a bad precedent for future." it added.

The joint-committee which was formed after the government issued a notification following the fast-unto-death protest by Anna Hazare comprises of:

Union ministers: Pranab Mukherjee, P Chidambaram, M Veerappa Moily, Kapil Sibal and Salman Khursheed.

Civil society representatives: Anna Hazare, Justice (retd) N Santosh Hegde, Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal.

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