Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Right reason behind refusal

Retired Supreme Court Judge K T Thomas has rightly refused to head Lokpal Search Panel on the ground of its futility. It is correct to say that when there is need or need not to accept search panel recommendation by the Select Committee, it is a futile exercise. The search panel recommendation has no binding on select panel. So, it is not worthwhile to head the search panel. Eminent jurist Fali Nariman has already opted out of the panel on the ground that the best would be get overlooked. The resignations of these two eminent jurists cast doubt on the intention of the government. Lokpal Select Committee consists of Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Lok Sabha Speaker, Supreme Court Judge and eminent jurist. The Select Committee would recommend name to President to give his assent for the appointment of the top anti-corruption watch dog Lokpal against corruption. The appointment of Lokpal had been hanging in balance since 1968 when it was initiated for the first time in Parliament. The ground reality behind its being hanging in balance for so long time is that no government at the Centre irrespective of political party was inclined to appoint top anti-corruption watch dog Lokpal. When the protests were launched all over India under the leadership of social activist Anna Hazare that galvanized the people against corruption, the Manmohan Singh-led UPA-II government was forced to act. In August 2011, the protest against corruption was so strong in Delhi under the leadership Anna Hazare in Delhi, who sat on fast unto death at Ramlila Maidan for Jan Lokpal(Lokpal), that the entire Parliament saluted him and assured of introducing the Lokpal Bill. The protests against corruption were so strong that it appeared as if entire Delhi came out on the streets in support of the protesters. It is not only in Delhi Anna Hazare campaign against corruption also galvanized the entire nation equally. It appeared as if a wave was blowing across the nation against corruption. Realizing the anger of the people, both the ruling and opposition parties agreed in principle to introduce and pass the Lokpal Bill in Parliament. Parliament passed it and the nation hoped to get it finally. But as the transparency and impartiality in the process of appointment of Lokpal is suspect, there may be once again a long wait. Justice Thomas and jurist Nariman have resigned from Search Panel. Retired Justice Thomas refusal to head the search panel is right because when there is no binding of its recommendation on the Select Panel, what is its utility? Government must make its intention clear. Otherwise, the appointment of Lokpal will remain elusive.

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