Former CJI calls Hazare's threat to fast "undemocratic"

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Anna Hazare
New Delhi, Jun 27: With the debate whether the Prime Minister needs to fall under the LokPal Bill ambit hotting up, opinions clearly seem divided on the issue. The latest comment on this is coming from former Chief Justice of India, JS Verma. He expressed his opinion of the issue and also voiced his concerns on the serious lapses in the appointment and promotion of judges.

Speaking in an interview with CNN-IBN, Verma spoke vehemently on the exclusion of the PM and the higher judiciary out of the LokPal purview and said, “It would be a mistake to bring the judiciary and the PM under the lokpal's ambit." He also pushed for the creation of a National Judicial Commission specifically for the purpose of probing corruption within the judiciary.

He has been quoted as saying, “It will foul with the basic structure of the Constitution. Judicial review is a basic feature (of the Constitution)... for which an independent judiciary is essential." Supporting the government's stand to exclude the Prime Minister and the judiciary from the LokPal, he added that the move was worrying the sitting judges. He also strongly opposed Anna Hazare's campaign and called it "undemocratic".

On being asked the need for the PM having to face an anti-corruption ombudsman, Verma commented, “The simple answer is if the PM is covered under ordinary law (Prevention of Corruption Act) you don't need him covered under lokpal." He also had strong words against the way judges were being appointed and promoted for which he replied that the system required changes.

He also quoted his own personal career path and said, “Well, some people who are not considered suitable in my time and I used to consult five including those who succeeded me thereafter, a few of them were appointed soon after I had retired."

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