CM-led panel meets on revival of SAC

Srinagar: A panel headed by Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Thursday shortlisted three former judges of the high court for their appointment as chairman and members of the State Accountability Commission.

Sources said that the meeting was held at Nehru guesthouse and all members of the selection panel including chief justice N Paul Vasathakumar, leader of opposition and former chief minister Omar Abdullah, speaker of the legislative assembly Kavinder Gupta and law minister Syed Bashrat Bukhari were present.

The panel, they said, recommended former chief justice Bashir Ahmad Khan for the post of chairman and Justice (retd) B A Kirmani and Justice (retd) J P Singh as members of the anti-corruption watchdog.

The panel, sources said, decided not to appoint former chief justice Bilal Nazki, who along with Permod Kohli was recommended by Cabinet Sub-Committee for the appointment as the chairperson, after opposition by leader of the opposition. Justice (retired) Permod Kohli had reportedly expressed inability to take up the assignment.

SAC is non-functional since August 20 last year after its chairperson Justice (retired) Y P Nargotra and one of the two appointed members, Justice (retired) Imtiyaz Hussain, completed their term in office.

For the members, the CSC had recommended four retired high court judges including Justices (retd) J P Singh (who was in office from 04 Oct 2005 to 05 April 2013), B L Bhat (11 June 2001 to 07 August 2003), Bashir A Kirmani (09 June 2005 to 13 June 2008) and Sunil Hali (15 March 2008 to 03 July 2011).

In last assembly session, the government amended SAC Act and now a person appointed as chairperson or a member shall hold officer for a term of five years from the date of which he enters upon his office or until he attains the age of 75 years, whichever is earlier.

The revival of SAC was also part of ruling coalition government’s “agenda of alliance”. It is mandated to enquire into complaints of corruption against Chief Minister or any Minister, any Member of State Legislature, Chairman or Vice-Chairman or a member of a local authority, Vice-Chancellor or Registrar of University established or deemed to have been established by law made by the State Legislature.

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