Sunday, June 19, 2011

NDTV allows Kapil Sibal to spread canards about Jan Lokpal Bill

Here is how Union minister Kapil Sibal misleads the public and NDTV's Barkha Dutt plays the dumb game of not asking the obvious questions.
The Buck Stops Here, NDTV 24X7
Saturday, 18 June 2011, 7.30 pm

Barkha Dutt: Why should judiciary not be under Lokpal's ambit?

Kapil Sibal: Let us suppose judiciary is under Lokpal and the Lokpal brings a case against a judge to a magistrate's court for prosecution. Now that magistrate is under Lokpal. Suppose the magistrate does not agree with the Lokpal. How will the magistrate, who is under the Lokpal, go against the Lokpal?

What's wrong with Sibal's argument?: Neither Jan Lokpal Bill nor anyone from Anna's team has made the bizarre proposal that any magistrate or judge in the country be placed "under Lokpal" in the sense of a subordinate taking an order from a superior.
So Sibal's argument is patently wrong and is meant to mislead the public.
In this case, Lokpal will bring to a magistrate's court a case of alleged corruption against a judge (of the Supreme Court or a high court), and the magistrate will decide, based on evidence on record, whether or not the case is fit for prosecution.
That is, the magistrate can allow or disallow the prosecution.
Lokpal's powers of investigation and prosecution, as envisaged in the Jan Lokpal Bill, will have absolutely no bearing on how and which way a magistrate decides matters brought to him/her, including those brought by the Lokpal.
Sibal's use of the phrase "under Lokpal" is deliberately misleading.
Judiciary will NOT be "under Lokpal." It will only be "under Lokpal's ambit", which simply means that the Lokpal will have the power to investigate a complaint of corruption against a judge (of the Supreme Court or a high court) and, if sufficient evidence is available, bring the complaint to a law-court for prosecution. 
The decision to prosecute or not to prosecute will be the law-court's.
Sibal's argument is also wrong and misleading on another score: a magistrate's court will not be even "under Lokpal's ambit".
Jan Lokpal Bill envisages bringing only the higher judiciary (judges of the Supreme Court and high courts) under Lokpal's ambit, not the magistrates who belong to the lower judiciary.

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