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NDA slammed over Competition Panel head

May 26, 2004 15:54 IST

Lambasting the National Democratic Alliance government for appointing a bureaucrat as head of the Competition Commission, Law Minister Hans Raj Bharadwaj on Wednesday said rightly the decision fell foul with the Supreme Court as these quasi-judicial bodies have been traditionally headed by judges.

In an unrelenting mood, the minister found fault with many decisions of the previous government -- be it the appointment of Commerce Secretary Deepak Chatterjee as head of the commission or the delay in the filling up of vacancies in posts of judges in the high courts.

Without mentioning the name of his predecessor Arun Jaitley, Bharadwaj said, "Has it ever happened that a bureaucrat is made to head a quasi-judicial body whose awards are to be implemented by the high court?"

However, he said with the delay in functioning of the commission expected to replace Monopolies & Restrictive Trade Practices Commission, the purpose for which the Competition Commission Act was enacted has been defeated.

"It is a very urgent law, but because of the folly of the NDA government, it has been stayed by the Supreme Court, he said and added, "All quasi-judicial bodies like the Competition Commission should be headed by judges."

The apex court had expressed serious reservations over appointment of a bureaucrat as head of the commission and remarked that: "Given an opportunity the government will replace all Supreme Court judges with bureaucrats."

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