New Delhi: Two former Chief Justices of India on Thursday favoured constitutional status for the proposed Lokpal as they appeared before a Parliamentary committee scrutinising the Bill.

Justice J S Verma and Justice M N Venkatachalaiah expressed this view before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice whose Chairman Abhishek Singhvi
said "all issues" were under its consideration.

"We put across a firm commitment to have a strong Lokpal, because a constitutional Lokpal would be the strongest one can think of," Justice Verma told reporters after the meeting.

He said the details can be worked out under the law which is required to be enacted thereafter by Parliament.

When asked whether, according to his opinion, bodies like CVC can be included in the Lokpal, he said "that includes everything," without elaborating.

Justice Venkatachalaiah said he suggested to the Standing Committee the "desirability" of having the "strongest Lokpal regime...legal framework, constitutional framework.
Then the details could be worked out."

He said he supported constitutional status for the Lokpal institution.

Singhvi, a senior Congress leader, said all matters were under the panel's consideration, including granting constitutional status to the anti-corruption watchdog.

"All issues are open. All matters are under consideration and the fun is in the mystery," he said when asked whether the issue of constitutional status for Lokpal was under its consideration.

Union Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday said that Government intends to make the proposed Lokpal a Constitutional authority. When asked about the statement of Khurshid that the proposed Lokpal will have the status of a Constitutional authority, Singhvi said it was a "view".

"What decision will be taken, I cannot tell you now. Confidential deliberations will be held on the issue. Yes, the people who appeared on Thursday have written on it in public domain. And their stand on the issue has been placed before the committee and is under consideration," he said referring to the two eminent jurists.

The two are also learnt to have expressed their reservations over bringing the Prime Minister and judiciary under the ambit of Lokpal.

The National Commission for Review of the Working of the Constitution in 2001, headed by Justice Venkatachaliah, had recommended that the Prime Minister be kept out of the Lokpal's purview since he occupies a unique position and is the head of the entire governmental structure.

The Commission had said that the Prime Minister as the symbol of stability and continuity of the regime should not be exposed to the risks of well-orchestrated attempts to malign his image and reputation.

(Agencies)