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1941Re: [adhikaar] High Court raises important questions about Lokpal Bill Drafting Committee

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  • vinay singh
    Apr 21, 2011
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      I would like to differ with Nutan Thakur on this point. The involvement of non-legislative entities in drafting a bill does not amount to interference in legislative functions. Tis has always been done in all democratic societies.. In fact, during the British Raj, this was the norm rather than the exception.
      Before the Official Secrets Act was enacted in 1923, the Bill was sent for comments to all local self governments, bar associations, adminisitrative authoriteis etc. A large number of comments were received. Some of those who raised pertinent objections or gave suggestions were :
      CA Baron, Chief Commissioner, Delhi.
      DD Nanavati, ICS, Secretary to the Govt. of Burma.
      HE MacCall, ICS, Commissioner, Upper Burma
      Babu Kedar Nath Guha, Secretary, Bar Association, Dhubri, Assam
      CY Chintamani, Minister for Education, UP.
      Pt. Kanhaiya Lal, Judicial Commissioner, Oudh.
      AH Brasler, Judge, Lahore High Court
      Secretary, Multan Bar Association
      President, Bar Association, Jhang.
      Khan Sahib Malik Zaman Mehdi Khan, DC MOntgomery.
      As will be obvious, almost every section of civil society was invoved in drafting the Bill, before it went to the Select Committeee. This information has been accessed from The National Archives, Legislative Department Proceedings, Assemly and Council - A, October 1923, No. 55-75.
      Mj Gen VK Singh (Retd)
      --- On Wed, 20/4/11, Nutan Thakur <nutanthakurlko@...> wrote:

      From: Nutan Thakur <nutanthakurlko@...>
      Subject: [adhikaar] High Court raises important questions about Lokpal Bill Drafting Committee
      To: "Nutan Thakur" <nutanthakurlko@...>, "Nutan Thakur" <nutanthakurlko@...>
      Date: Wednesday, 20 April, 2011, 21:28


      Recently, a petition had been filed by Lucknow based Advocate Asok Pande and myself in  the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court raising certain pertinent issues.  

      The writ had been filed to challenge the extra-ordinary notification issued by the Ministry for Law and Justice, Government of India dated- April 08, 2011 through which the Government of India has constituted a “Joint Drafting Committee” to draft the Lokpal Bill. In the petition, we had said that the Central and State Government and the various Courts have always taken the view that making of a law (including not to make it) is a complete domain of the Legislature. We had quoted example of Writ Petitions (M B No. - 2568 of 2011) Dr Nutan Thakur vs Union of India and others in which the High Court had said-“this Court cannot enter into a field, which is exclusively within the domain of the legislature”. Based on this, we had said that it certainly seems beyond law that the Central government started a completely new process by granting extra-constitutional authority to Sri Anna Hazare to nominate a few persons as his “nominees” for the so-called “Joint Drafting committee”. The petitioners also questioned the use of the words “five nominees of Shri Anna Hazare (including himself)” as being against law and Constitutional provisions.

      Today, our point seems to have got validated when the High Court made the following order. Our main issue is that we shall not try to overlook larger Constitutional and legal issues for beautiful looking and mesmerizing goals, which shall have very serious repercussions in the future. While u have all the right to curse and get agitated with me and call me names for trying to scuttle a big process, but I would also request u to think with a cool head about the issues raised and accepted by the High Court Chief Justice in a larger perspective.

      Case :- MISC. BENCH No. - 3680 of 2011

      Petitioner :- Asok Pande & Anr. [ P.I.L. ] Civil
      Respondent :- Union Of India,Thru. Secy., Prime Minister'S Office, & Ors.
      Petitioner Counsel :- Asok Pande (In Person)
      Respondent Counsel :- A.S.G.

      Hon'ble Ferdino Inacio Rebello,Chief Justice
      Hon'ble Devendra Kumar Arora,J.

      The two petitioners, one of them is a practising Advocate of this Court, have approached this Court, questioning the validity of the resolution dated 8th April, 2011 issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Law and Justice, constituting a Joint Drafting Committee for the purpose of drafting the Lok Pal Bill, consisting of five Ministers of the Government of India as nominees of the Government of India and five nominees of Shri Anna Hazare (including himself).
      The questions raised in this petition, though may not have been clearly expressed, raise larger issues of grave constitutional importance to the functioning of the Parliamentary democracy of this country.
      The right of any section of a society, including the NGOs, Businessmen, Workmen and others to give their inputs and suggestions to enact a law, amend the law and alike, is now accepted as a part of the law-making process.
      first question that arises for consideration is, whether it is open to the Government of India to constitute a Committee of a section of the society for drafting a Bill?
      second question, which arises for consideration is, whether a section of the society, which has agitated on an issue, only has the right to be represented in the Committee or all those who have been raising such issues without agitation or hunger strikes, should also have the right to represent such Committee?
      Further, if such Committees are constituted, what would be the locus of the Bill drafted by such Committees, as the sovereign Will of the people of India lies in the Parliament through the Members elected by them to represent them in the Lok Sabha as also the State nominees as the representatives in the Rajya Sabha.
      There may be other questions, which will arise in the course of the discussion including constituting Committees for other Bills.
      It may not be out of place to mention a news item that has appeared today in the newspaper 'Indian Express' relating to allotment of some land in NOIDA in favour of a person, who has been included as one of the Members of the Committee constituted for drafting the Lok Pal Bill However, it would not be appropriate to take notice of that news item as of now as the said person is not a party in this petition.
      As the petition raises issues of grave constitutional importance to the functioning of the Parliamentary democracy of this country, we are of the opinion that this is a fit case where we should ask the Attorney General of India to address this Court on the aforesaid issues.
      Notices on behalf of the respondents have been accepted by Dr. Ashok Nigam, Additional Solicitor General of India.
      Dr. Nigam seeks three weeks' time to file counter affidavit.
      Time as prayed for is granted.
      Place the matter on board on 16th May, 2011.
      In the meantime, office to issue notice to the Attorney General of India.

      (D.K. Arora, J.) (F.I. Rebello, C.J.)
      Order Date :- 20.4.2011


      High Court raises important questions about Lokpal Bill Drafting Committee

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