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Tuesday 21 January 2020

SC expresses dissatisfaction over Lokpal matter

The court was hearing a contempt petition filed by the NGO which has raised the issue of non-appointment of Lokpal despite the apex court's judgement of 27 April last year

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed dissatisfaction over the Centre’s response on the appointment of search committee members for a Lokpal.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, R Banumathi, and Navin Sinha asked the Centre to file a fresh affidavit giving relevant details of the search committee.

During the hearing, Attorney General KK Venugopal submitted an affidavit and said a meeting of the selection committee was held but the names for the search committee were not finalised.

He said another meeting would be held soon for appointing members of the search committee, keeping in mind the provisions of law for such appointments.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner NGO Common Cause, said the Centre has not specified the date of the next meeting and they are actually delaying the appointment of a Lokpal despite the passage of a law nearly five years ago.

The bench, in its order, said it’s unsatisfied with the Centre’s reply and sought a fresh affidavit in four weeks giving all necessary details.

The Centre had earlier told the apex court the Lokpal selection committee, headed by the prime minister, was scheduled to meet to set up a search panel for recommending a panel of names for the appointment of the anti-graft ombudsman and its members.

The government had said the search panel would lay down its procedures, following which the selection committee would fix the time frame within which the names for selecting the chairman and members of the Lokpal would be recommended.

The committee comprises the prime minister, the chief justice of India, Lok Sabha speaker, the leader of the largest opposition party and an eminent jurist.

The apex court, in its last year’s verdict, had said there was no justification to keep the enforcement of Lokpal Act suspended till the proposed amendments, including on the issue of the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, were cleared by Parliament.

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