'Govt should have left it to search panel'

'Govt should have left it to search panel'

Ranbir Singh, eminent professor in law and vice chancellor of
National Law University, Delhi, spoke to Prakash Kumar of Deccan Herald.


On the controversy over Lokpal selection:

I seriously view that if you have people of stature in the committee, it should be in the fitness of things that you leave everything to them and let them find out what process they have to evolve and how they would select the ombudsman.  But if you prepare a long list of people and pass on the list to them, their scope is restricted. I fully endorse that this is not the proper way to do it. But, unfortunately such things keep happening. Nariman is today one of the most respected lawyers in the country, known for his views, independence, scholarship and values. Justice Thomas also had a wonderful reputation. He is in one of the most renowned judges in the country. Let them have a search committee of their own so that they can identify right people. What Nariman and Justice Thomas say makes a lot of sense to me. Both of them are experts in the field. This controversy at the national stage, to my mind, is very dangerous. You kill a baby before it is born. It is the worst kind of foeticide for the Lokpal Bill. The government can certainly take the credit for bringing the legislation, whatever may be its objectives, political or otherwise. But it should be equally serious in providing a very effective body to implement the provision of the Lokpal. Otherwise if you have a good legislation but not a good Lokpal, then the implementation will fail.

On the right course the government should have taken:

The government should have done the exercise in consultation with the search committee. Even when the government was framing rules for selection of Lokpal, it should have done it in consultation with them. The government should have given names only if the search committee wanted them. But asking the panel to select people from a list, already prepared, is probably limiting the choice which may not be very wise on the part of the government. I find it very strange.

On charges that the government is trying to bring in its loyalists for Lokapal:

I do not have a very strong view on this for the simple reason that even if you have no Lokpal, we have enough laws in this country to take care of corruption, criminalisation of politics, criminal activities, etc. Ultimately, you can delay the setting up of Lokpal to some extent but not for long.

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