Rapping the Government for delaying the Lokpal’s appointment despite past assurances, the Supreme Court of India on Monday directed the Attorney General of India to inform the Court on the next date, the steps taken to make the Lokpal’s appointment. The matter has been adjourned for July 19.
The Court was hearing an application filed by Common Cause, seeking to amend its Writ Petition, which had been filed to question the entire selection process of Chairperson and Members of the Lokpal, initiated under “the Search Committee (Constitution, Terms and Conditions of appointment of members and the manner of selection of Panel of names for appointment of Chairperson and Members of Lokpal) Rules, 2014” framed under “the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013”.
The challenge to process was made mainly on the grounds that Rules 10 (1) & (4) (i) are ultra vires the main provisions of the Act. Rule 10 (1), which required the Search Committee to prepare a panel of persons to be considered for appointment, from the list of persons provided by the Central Government, has been contended to be against the very object of having an independent Lokpal.
Rule 10(4)(i) stipulated that the non-judicial members of the Lokpal must have held the post of the Secretary of the Government of India or an equivalent post under the Central Government or the State Government. This was contended to be against the scope and ambit of the Lokpal Act. You may read the petition and gist of averments here.
Subsequently, the then Solicitor General had assured the Court that the Government would re-examine the impugned rules and proceed to make appointments, only after making proper amendments in the Rules. As per an affidavit filed in September, 2014, the Government had amended the impugned Rules as prayed in the Writ Petition. However, no appointment had been made till now.
The application hence contends that the Government must proceed to make the Lokpal’s appointment at the earliest, “so that an independent institution to inquire into allegations of corruption against public functionaries could be set up.”
It further demands that the procedure for selecting the Chairperson and Members of the Lokpal by the Selection Committee must be transparent, as envisaged under Section 4(4) of the Act. It thereby suggests that the panel of persons to be prepared by the Search Committee for consideration by the Selection Committee must be placed in public domain.
Read the petition here.