The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pota monitor head puts in papers

New Delhi, Oct. 7: Days after the Congress-led government disbanded the Justice S.. Phukan Commission probing the Tehelka expos', a retired high court chief justice heading the central committee reviewing the scrapped anti-terror law has quit.

Justice A.B. Saharya's move has come amid government efforts to constitute 'one or two' committees to review cases under the repealed Prevention of Terrorism Act.

The home ministry is finalising names for the panels which would give opinion on all cases registered under the anti-terror law for the sunset period of the last one year.

The government had not clarified if it wanted Saharya to continue in his position or was looking for another judge to replace him. Home ministry officials had said a decision was yet to be taken.

Today, the former chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, who sent his resignation to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam before leaving for Chennai, said his decision was prompted by 'personal reasons and other commitments'.

Saharya, who headed the three-member review committee, said he had planned to finish his work by October 23 when the anti-terror law was set to lapse after three years. But it seems, he said, there could be an extension of one year to review and give a final opinion on the cases.

The earlier National Democratic Alliance government had announced constitution of the review committee in Parliament 18 months ago to deflect increasing criticism from Opposition parties and civil rights groups over the misuse of the law.

But the home ministry took too much time to provide the infrastructure that would allow the committee to get down to business.

Six months down the line, the panel was still without rooms for even the two other committee members, prompting an angry Saharya to go public about the ministry's non-cooperative attitude.

'The committee is limping to do whatever is possible,' he had said last year, complaining that the committee did not have adequate space, manpower or computers to carry out the job entrusted to it. 'It is pathetic,' Saharya has said.

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