Lord Acton, the great British jurist, rightly said: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." The Prime Minister is the custodian of the considerable state power. He has to be under public scrutiny.
Therefore I have clearly expressed the view that if power is to be subject to public investigation and scrutiny, he has to be within the ambit of the Lokpal Bill and cannot be exempted from it. Likewise, our judiciary is the watchdog of the Executive. People look up to the judges to ensure that the Executive does not misbehave. The judiciary must be accessible to every citizen who has a grievance against the robed brethren. When Parliament resorts to misconduct and violates the Constitution, people appeal to the judges for a remedy.
In this view, the judges are sublime and must have control over the Executive and the parliamentary process. Both these instruments are under the Lokpal's proposed jurisdiction. There is no case of exemption of these authorities.
I am sorry that some high Chief Justices have expressed a different view. I disagree. The greatest menace before India today is that the judiciary itself is corrupt and no action is being taken. There must be a militant, active nationwide movement against corruption. A powerful instrument must be set up for this if the confidence of the people is to be preserved.
The judiciary and the Prime Minister shall be under the Lokpal. The Lokpal itself must be of the highest order and should be plural in number.
The Prime Minister and the judiciary shall be like Caesar's wife: above suspicion.
Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, former Judge of the Supreme Court, writes in the context of the article by Anil Divan headlined 'Lokpal bill and the Prime Minister,' published on July 1: