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Just Because A Person Has Expressed Views On A Matter, It Does Not Disqualify Him From Being A Member Of A Committee: CJI Bobde

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
19 Jan 2021 8:36 AM GMT
Just Because A Person Has Expressed Views On A Matter, It Does Not Disqualify Him From Being A Member Of A Committee: CJI Bobde
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"Just because a person has expressed a view on the matter, that is not a disqualification to be a member of a Committee", the Chief Justice of India orally observed today. The CJI said that members of a Committee are not Judges, and they may very well change their opinions. Thus, merely because a person has expressed some views on a matter does not mean he cannot be appointed on...

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"Just because a person has expressed a view on the matter, that is not a disqualification to be a member of a Committee", the Chief Justice of India orally observed today.

The CJI said that members of a Committee are not Judges, and they may very well change their opinions. Thus, merely because a person has expressed some views on a matter does not mean he cannot be appointed on a Committee for resolving that issue.

The remarks assume relevance in the context of controversy surrounding the Committee constitution on farmers' protests.

The 4-members' Committee constituted by the Top Court to resolve the deadlock between the Central Government and the farmers, comprises members who have expressed open views in support of implementation of the farm laws.

A farmers' union has already requested the Supreme Court to re-constitute the Committee, citing bias.

"When all committee members appointed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court already in the favour of these three farm laws and already support the laws which made and passed by the central govt. without enough discussion with farmers then how they can make fair report without any biasness before the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India," the Farmers' Union said.

BS Mann, one of the committee members appointed by the Supreme Court, later announced his recusal.

The CJI's remarks,  which came today during the course of hearing in another matter, reflect upon the approach that the Bench hearing the cases against farm laws may adopt.

The CJI made the remarks while the bench was hearing the suo moto matter on steps to expedite criminal trial.

During the hearing, the bench indicated that it may appoint Sr Adv Siddharth Luthra as amicus curiae in the case against physical hearing in Delhi High Court, at which point, Luthra submitted that he is duty bound to apprise the Court that he has endorsed a statement supporting virtual hearing.

At this juncture, the CJI remarked,

"How is this a disqualification? Just because a person has expressed a view on the matter, that is not a disqualification to be a member of committee. Generally, there is a peculiar lack of comprehension about constitution of a committee. They are not judges."

The CJI clarified that his remarks are not only in context to the instant case but is a general observation.

"We are talking of a general misunderstanding. Committee members are not judges. They can change their views," the CJI observed.

Soon after the CJI announced the names of Committee members to resolve the farmers' dispute last week, many persons pointed out in social media that the composition of the committee reflects only a single view which is in support of the laws.

Following the controversy, S. Bhupinder Singh Mann, Ex MP and National President of BKU and Chairman of All India Kisan Coordination Committee recused himself from the committee.

"As a farmer myself and a Union leader, in view of the prevailing sentiments and apprehensions amongst the farm unions and the public in general, I am ready to any position offered or given to me so as to not to compromise the interest of Punjab and farmers of the Country, I am recusing myself from the Committee and I willalways stand with my framers and Punjab", he said in a statement.

The Bhartiya Kisan Union Lokshakti has moved the Supreme Court seeking to remove the remaining three members of the Committee.

It submitted that the present constitution of the Committee vitiates the principle of natural justice as it has been conveyed by all four members in public domain that they support the farm laws. Further, in light of Bhupinder Singh Mann, ex-MP and National President of BKU, recusing himself from the Committee, there exists a burden on the other three members to stand down as well.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday (January 12) stayed the operation of Three Farm Laws untill further Orders and constituted a Committee comprising Bhupinder Singh Mann, Pramod Kumar Joshi, Ashok Gulati, Anil Ghanwant for the 'purpose of listening to the grievances of farmers relating to the farm laws and views of the government to make recommendations'.

"We believe in the Committee and we are going to constitute it. This Committee will be the part of judicial proceedings", the Top Court had said.


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