Commission of Inquiry needed on Commission of Inquiry

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Noted RTI activist Pradip Pradhan has shared with me information officially received that the State Exchequer has coughed up a sum of Rs. 1,04.51.317/- for Justice C.R.Pal Commission of Inquiry, constituted to inquire into the demands of different bar Associations and to make an in-depth study in respect of establishment of a permanent Bench/ Circuit Bench anywhere in the State other than the Principal seat.

The Commission was appointed on 11.3.2008 for six months and was asked to report its finding within that period. But, despite several reminders from the government, Justice Pal has not completed his work and not submitted his report. For the tenth time, his tenure has been extended till June 2013. There is no guarantee that the inquiry shall be completed by this time.

It is a serious syndrome. If Justice Pal has no expertise or ability to complete the inquiry within the stipulated time, he should have been honest to go away from the assignment; because the delay in completion of the inquiry is injuriously expensive for the State.

One may not err if the delay seems to be a means to a continuous earning for the Judge in his retired days. Any retired judge heading any Commission of Inquiry like Justice Pal should be made answerable for draining out of the State Exchequer if he has accepted the appointment to conclude the inquiry within a given time; but has wanted and obtained extensions after extensions, taking thereby more money from the exchequer than what was originally estimated.

A Commission of Inquiry on the Commission of Inquiry that causes so much delay in concluding the inquiry is necessary to ensure timely conclusion of the inquiries that State is instituting in matters of urgent public interest.

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