NEW DELHI, June 29 � Asserting that he has no hesitation in subjecting himself to the jurisdiction of Lokpal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today ruled out inclusion of higher judiciary within the ambit of the anti-corruption ombudsman, reports PTI.
Bringing higher judiciary under the jurisdiction of the Lokpal would be contrary to the Constitutional scheme of things, he said while voicing confidence that a national consensus would be evolved on the proposeed Lokpal Bill.
He told a group of editors here that his Cabinet colleagues were of the view that bringing the institution of Prime Minister under Lokpal would create an element of instability which, at times, can go out of hand.
�I, for one, have no hesitation in bringing myself under the purview of the Lokpal,� he said. Affirming that he was not saying �anything one way or the other�, he said that the office of the Prime Minister was covered by anti-corruption Act in any case. Any person holding this office was a �24-hour servant of the people� who can be removed by Parliament through a vote of no confidence.
There were divergent opinions on the subject in the country, he said, adding that he would like to be �guided� by political parties.
Singh pointed out that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha and Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, who had both favoured keeping the office of Prime Minister out of Lokpal�s purview, had already given their views.
On higher judiciary, the Prime Minister said �there are clear reservations� in bringing it under Lokpal. Judiciary must be encouraged to find its ways and means to regulate its own affairs consistent with the spirit of the Constitution, he said.
�How would the Supreme Court pronounce on complex issues if it is subject to the jurisdiction of the Lokpal,� Singh asked.
Acknowledging that corruption was a big issue which had caught the imagination of the people, he said the Lokpal was an essential and desirable legislation although it is not a panacea.
�We will honestly work to evolve a broad-based national consensus so that we have a statute which will give us a strong Lokpal,� Singh told the editors.
On the civil society members� demand for creating a structure of Lokpal that would cover all the civil servants in both the Centre and states, he said �I have doubt whether our system will be able to stand that strain. Let us concentrate on corruption in high places which is most obnoxious.�
Stating that he had respect for members of the civil society, Singh said that was the reason why he had taken the trouble of interacting with them.
He had met Anna Hazare in March and assured him that the government was committed to bringing a Lokpal Bill in the monsoon session of Parliament which then had to decide whether to pass it or amend it.