Allahabad HC: LokPal panel has no constitutional standing

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New Delhi, Jun 24: After the LokPal Bill drafting committee meet ended in logjam with no solid consensus arrived at, the anti-corruption ombudsman seem to be trapped in a deadlock. But in a further setback, the Allahabad High Court has stated that the the drafting committee does not have a “statutory or constitutional force and is merely constituted in the wisdom of the government."

The bench comprising Justices Pradeep Kant and Vedpal said, “The value to be attached to the Bill so prepared by the committee can be assessed only by the government, for before a legislation is validly transmitted into law, it has to go through the constitutional process."

After questions were raised over the status of the panel, the latest order restated the power of the Parliament. The order was based on a writ petition filed by Asok Pande who claimed the panel to be unconstitutional, to which the court replied that the panel in no way infringes on the “sovereign will of the people of India, which lies in the Parliament."

The High Court also stated that the panel was framed within the executive powers of the government. It added, “There is no vested right in any citizen to be consulted by the Government of India except as provided by law. Where the law does not vest any such right, as is in the present case, no person can seek as a matter of right his representation in the committee."

The judges taking cognizance of the Union government's affidavit and the arguments made by Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati said, “It is only the decision-making process and not the decision which is open to challenge in a matter relating to administrative or executive order and action."

Reiterating that the will of the people reigns supreme, the judges also said that wiping out corruption is an acceptable cause. The government, however, has the authority to reject a law if doubts on its authenticity arises. But the judges also opined that making a law is a parliamentary function even as the issues of corruption affecting the common man cannot be ignored.

On the other contentious issue of the constitution of the panel, they commented that those who raise their voice against corruption “would not get a right much less any enforceable right or claim to be included in the committee by the government, though the committee could be said to be constituted in a manner so that it reflects all sections of the society."

OneIndia News

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