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  India   All India  23 Feb 2018  Process to appoint of Lokpal initiated; meeting on March 1: Centre to SC

Process to appoint of Lokpal initiated; meeting on March 1: Centre to SC

THE ASIAN AGE | J VENKATESAN
Published : Feb 23, 2018, 6:41 pm IST
Updated : Feb 23, 2018, 6:44 pm IST

The meeting of the selection panel comprising PM, CJI, Lok Sabha Speaker and leader of the largest party in opposition is fixed for March 1.

Accepting the submission of the AG, the bench directed the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) to file affidavit in this regard by March 5 and posted the matter for further hearing on March 6. (Photo: File)
 Accepting the submission of the AG, the bench directed the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) to file affidavit in this regard by March 5 and posted the matter for further hearing on March 6. (Photo: File)

New Delhi: The Centre on Friday informed the Supreme Court that the government has initiated the process of appointment of Lokpal, `anti-corruption Ombudsman’, with a meeting, headed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be held on March 1 for selecting the Lokpal.

Attorney General KK Venugopal made this submission before a Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Ms R Banumathi hearing a contempt petition filed by Common Cause through advocate Prashant Bhushan for not implementing the April 2017 verdict of the apex court in appointing Lokpal.

 

The AG told the court the appointment has been delayed since the enactment of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act in 2014. The meeting of the selection panel comprising the Prime Minister (PM), Chief Justice of India (CJI), Lok Sabha Speaker and leader of the largest party in opposition is fixed for March 1.

He also said that the delay of the selection panel was due to the death of senior lawyer PP Rao, who was also one of the members in the panel, in September 2017.

Accepting the submission of the AG, the bench directed the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) to file affidavit in this regard by March 5 and posted the matter for further hearing on March 6.

 

In April 2017, the apex court acting on a writ petition filed by Common Cause asked the Centre to set up the `anti-corruption ombudsman’ Lokpal under the 2013 law without waiting for Parliament approval of the standing committee’s suggestion for amending the law to include Leader of single largest party in the place of LoP to be part of the search committee.

The court held that the Lokpal Act as it stands today is an eminently workable piece of legislation and there is no justification to keep the enforcement of the Act under suspension till the amendments, as proposed, are carried out.

It said if the Lokpal Act, as it exists, is otherwise workable and the amendment sought to be introduced by Parliament is aimed at a more efficient working of some of the provisions of the Act, the wholesome principle that a law duly enacted and enforced must be given effect to will have to prevail and appropriate directions will have to be issued by the Court to the said effect.

 

The court had rejected the Centre’s submission that the law cannot be implemented in the absence of LoP and without amending the law.

It said if, at present, the LoP is not available, surely, the Chairperson and the other two Members of the Selection Committee, namely, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India or his nominee may proceed to appoint an eminent jurist as a Member of the Selection Committee.

It said there is no legal disability in a truncated Selection Committee to constitute a Search Committee for preparing a panel of persons for consideration for appointment as the Chairperson and Members of the Lokpal and also for such a truncated Selection Committee to make recommendations to the President of India for appointment of the Chairperson and Members of the Lokpal.

 

As the order was not implemented Common Cause moved the court for contempt and in this petition, the AG made the submission about the meeting to be held on March 1. The Bench posted the matter for further hearing on March 6.

Tags: supreme court of india, narendra modi, lokpal act, kk venugopal, lok sabha speaker
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi