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February 2, 2000
Venkatachaliah to head Constitution review panel
Former Supreme Court chief justice, M N Venkatachaliah, will head the Constitution Review Commission, Union Law, Justice and Company Affairs Minister Ram Jethmalani said in New Delhi today.
Asked if Justice Venkatachaliah had given his assent for this, the minister replied: ''Undoubtedly.''
Former Supreme Court judge and the present chairman of the Law Commission, B P Jeevan Reddy, will be one of the members of the eleven-member Commission.
Jethmalani, however, refused to disclose the identities of other members. ''The matter is confidential. However, this much is certain that Justice Venkatachaliah will head the Commission,'' he said.
Asked if members of any political party would be taken on the Commission, Jethmalani said: ''Never.'' However, if any political leader was also a legal expert, then there was no harm in including him or her, he added.
Asserting that there was no ''hidden government agenda'' behind the move to review the Constitution, the minister said this was not a political exercise.
Referring to the views expressed in certain quarters that there was no need for a review of the Constitution as there was a provision for its amendment, Jethmalani said how can there be an amendment without a review.
While the term of the Commission would be for one year, Jethmalani said he was hopeful that it would be able to complete the task within six months.
Jethmalani said the Commission would be advised to keep the basic structure of the Constitution inviolate and also not tinker with the system of parliamentary democracy enshrined therein.
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