The Supreme Court on Friday said it would not sit in judgment on the executive's decision to set up a committee, headed by social activist Anna Hazare, for drafting the Lokpal Bill.

Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, heading a three-judge Bench, told counsel for petitioners, challenging the constitutional validity of the notification of the committee, that most of their averments were premature as they dealt with the Bill, which was yet to be passed.

The court could not sit in judgment on the wisdom of the executive on who should be on the committee. “We will strictly go by the law,” he said. As the Bill was yet to be drafted and passed, the petitions could not be heard now.

The CJI asked the petitioners to amend the petitions, confining themselves to the questions of law. The Bench, including Justices K. S. Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar, granted them time till July for amending the petitions and adjourned the hearing till then.

In its petition, Mahan Dal, a political party in Haryana, said the Bill could not be drafted in haste or under pressure from Mr. Hazare. Could the government take action under threat or pressure from one of the citizens? Would it not create a bad precedent for future? “A decision affecting the whole nation cannot be taken so suddenly without having a public debate on such a national issue of great public importance,” said Mahan Dal.

The other petitions were filed by Kaushal Kishore Shukla and advocate Manohar Lal Sharma. Under Article 53 of the Constitution, the power to legislate is vested with the executive, and it could not be transferred, Mr. Sharma said. Hence, the notification to set up a committee to suggest a draft Bill should be declared unconstitutional.

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