SC Reserves Order on Pleas Seeking Appointment of Lokpal

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On Tuesday, the Supreme Court reserved its verdict on a batch of pleas seeking the appointment of a Lokpal committee.

The bench was hearing a matter filed by NGO Common Cause which sought a direction to the Centre to make the appointment of chairperson and members of the Lokpal panel as per the amended rules framed under Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.

On 23 November last year, the SC had pulled up the Centre over the delay in appointment of a Lokpal saying it should not allow the law to become a "dead letter".

Law Being Amended

A bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, "We have heard the arguments of all the parties. Judgement (is) reserved."

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the SC on Tuesday that a Lokpal can't be appointed since amendments pertaining to the definition of the Leader of Opposition are pending in Parliament.

In the Lok Sabha, the largest opposition party, Congress, has only 45 members and lacks the requisite 10 percent of total 545 seats, giving rise to the requirement to amend the present Lokpal Act.

Mukul Rohatgi, Attorney General of India Unless the proposed amendment making the leader of the largest opposition party as Leader of Opposition is passed by Parliament, the Lokpal can’t be appointed.

The law provides that the selection of chairperson and members of Lokpal shall be through a selection panel consisting of the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, LoP in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or a sitting SC judge nominated by the CJI, and an eminent jurist to be nominated by the President on the basis of recommendations of the first four members of the selection committee.

Senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, appearing for Common Cause, said that even though the Lokpal Bill was passed by the Parliament in 2013 and came into effect in 2014, the Lokpal is not being appointed by the government deliberately.

(With inputs from PTI)

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