2 ex-CJIs favour Lokpal Constitutional status

New Delhi: Two former Chief Justices of India on Thursday favoured constitutional status for the proposed Lokpal as they appeared before a Parliamentary committee scrutinising the Bill.

Justice J S Verma and Justice M N Venkatachalaiah expressed this view before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice whose Chairman Abhishek Singhvi said “all issues” were under its consideration.

“We put across a firm commitment to have a strong Lokpal, because a constitutional Lokpal would be the strongest one can think of,” Justice Verma told reporters after the meeting. He said the details can be worked out under the law which is required to be enacted thereafter by Parliament. When asked whether, according to his opinion, bodies like CVC can be included in the Lokpal, he said “that includes everything,” without elaborating.

Justice Venkatachalaiah said he suggested to the Standing Committee the “desirability” of having the “strongest Lokpal regime…legal framework, constitutional framework. Then the details could be worked out.” He said he supported constitutional status for the Lokpal institution.

Singhvi, a senior Congress leader, said all matters were under the panel`s consideration, including granting constitutional status to the anti-corruption watchdog. “All issues are open. All matters are under consideration and the fun is in the mystery,” he said when asked whether the issue of constitutional status for Lokpal was under its consideration.

Union Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday said that Government intends to make the proposed Lokpal a Constitutional authority.