New chairman for Law Commission
By Our Legal Correspondent
NEW DELHI, JAN. 1. Mr. Justice M. Jagannatha Rao, Vice-Chairman of the 16th Law Commission of India, has been appointed as its Chairman with effect from today. He succeeds Mr. Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy whose resignation came into effect from yesterday.
Hailing from a family of lawyers and judges, Mr. Justice M. Jagannatha Rao joined the Andhra Pradesh Bar in 1960 and became a judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in September 1982.
He was appointed the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court in July 1991, transferred as the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court in April 1994 and elevated to the Supreme Court in March 1997. After his retirement in December 2000, he was appointed Vice-Chairman of the Law Commission in January 2001. Meanwhile, the Law Commission has submitted three more reports to the Government on the law of arrest and miscellaneous laws, including the law of evidence and on public disclosure bill. The report on the law of arrest seeks to amend the relevant provisions of the Cr.P.C. and the Indian Penal Code to make the Indian police force friendly to the law-abiding citizens and not as a force of suppression and oppression in order to protect the human rights of the citizens.
The report on miscellaneous laws seeks to amend the provisions of criminal laws to ensure that witnesses in criminal cases do not turn hostile while adducing evidence. The report recommends making confessional statements made before a magistrate admissible in evidence.
Even if a witness, who made the confession before a magistrate, retracts his statements later, the courts will be empowered to accept the confessional statements as valid as if they were made of his own volition without undue influence or coercion.
The third report relates to the public disclosure bill, intended to curb corruption among public servants and make them accountable for their assets. The bill recommends mandatory disclosure of assets by public/Government servants initially and every year thereafter.
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