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Lokpal Bill: Allahabad HC issues notice to Attorney General

On a petition by advocate Asok Pande and social activist Nutan Thakur, the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad high court has issued notice to the Attorney General to appear before the court and explain how and why drafting committee for the Lokpal bill was formed.

The bench comprising chief justice of the high court FI Rebelio and justice DK Arora also took notice of a newspaper article which talked about land obtained by Shanti Bhushan and his son Jayant Bhushan by the UP government but since they were not made opposite parties in the petition, the court did not pursue the matter.

However, the Bench framed a few questions on the formation of the Lokpal drafting committee -- "Why was this measure taken when it is not provided in the constitution? Was there any pressure and is the act going to curtail the rights of private individuals as some extra-constitutional body is now trying to represent them?"

The court has given three weeks time to file the reply and has fixed May 16 as the next date of hearing.

The writ petition challenges the extra-ordinary notification issued by the union ministry for law and justice on April 08, 2011 through which the government has constituted a Joint Committee to draft the Lokpal Bill.

In the petition, petitioners Pande and Dr Thakur said that the central and state governments and various courts have always taken the view that making of a law, including not to make it, is the complete domain of the legislature.

Pande and Thakur have claimed in the petition that the formation of the drafting committee seemed to be beyond law. "The central government started a completely new process by granting extra-constitutional authority to Anna Hazare to nominate a few persons as his nominees for the so-called Joint Drafting committee," the petition said.

The petitioners also questioned the use of the words 'five nominees of Shri Anna Hazare (including himself)' in the notification.

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