THE Government was accused yesterday of tabling an amendment bill on the Town Planning Appeal Board, formulated just to suit one person. The Town Planning (Amendment) Bill seeks to clarify that a judge may be appointed to the appeal board panel or chair the panel. A judicial review to bar Appeal Court judge Mr Justice Litton from chairing the Town Planning Appeal Board was rejected on Monday. The ruling sparked concern among legislators that the amendment was being made only to serve Monday's verdict. Legislator Albert Ho Chun-yan said it was a sensitive moment to propose the amendment. He challenged the Government over whether the bill was merely a bid to legitimise the court's decision that a judge cannot be regarded as a public officer. He asked: 'Is it worthwhile if the amendment is prepared to serve only one person?' Stanley Wong Wing-hong, Principal Assistant Secretary of Planning, Environment and Lands, denied the accusation. He said it was the department's intention to clarify whether the Appeal Board chairman could be a judge, in order to avoid problems of legal interpretation. But he admitted the amendment arose after the role of the judge on the board aroused public concern in May. 'We drafted the bill since then to avoid legal confusion on the term 'public officer',' he said. Asked if the number of judges had increased in the past few years so that the department would have more manpower to bring in the change, he said the number of judges had remained stable. He said legislators first suggested having a judge or legal expert on the appeal board in 1991, and the department had been working on the proposal since then. Mr Wong said there need not be a conflict with the same judge sitting on the hearing of the appeal board and subsequently on the hearing of a judicial review concerning the decision of the appeal board, since different people could be appointed at the different levels.