Panel Meeting On Lokpal’s Selection To Be Held On Mar. 1, Centre Tells SC

Panel Meeting On Lokpal’s Selection To Be Held On Mar. 1, Centre Tells SC

'The steps taken and proposed may be indicated in an affidavit of the Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Personnel & Training be filed on 5th March, 2018 when the Court reopens after the Holi holidays', ordered the Bench.

The Centre on Friday has informed the Supreme Court that steps have been taken to process for the appointment of  Lokpal, which has been delayed since the enactment of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act in 2014,  and a meeting of the selection panel is scheduled to be held on March 1.

Appearing for the Central government, Attorney General KK Venugopal told the bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi that steps have been taken and the meeting of 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 last year.

Accepting the submission of the government’s senior-most law officer, the bench directed the Secretary Department of Personnel and Training to file an affidavit giving detail about the steps taken by March 5.

The court, which was hearing the contempt petition filed by NGO Common Cause, posted the matter to March 6 for further hearing. Advocate Prashant Bhushan appeared for the NGO.

Under the Act, which was passed in the Parliament in 2013 but came into force next year after the President had given his assent, the Lokpal is to be appointed by the selection committee including the PM, CJI or his nominee and an eminent jurist.

The government has taken a stand that delay was due to the absence of  Leader of Opposition (LOP).

Since the Congress does not have the required 10 percent of the total seats in the Lok Sabha, the party was denied the LOP status after the General Election in 2014.

In April 2017, the top court had said the anti-corruption body should be set up without delay and the absence of LOP should not come on the way of appointment.

However, the government later decided to include the largest opposition party in selection panels for the Lokpal and for CBI chief.

Read the Order Here