Lokpal chief, members appointment likely by this month-end


NEW DELHI, Feb 2:  The chairperson and members of anti-corruption body Lokpal may be appointed by this month-end as government has decided not to withdraw the advertisement seeking nominations for these posts despite a demand from BJP.

Government will not withdraw advertisement and accept applications for Lokpal till Friday, the last date for receiving nominations, a senior official of Ministry of Personnel said.

The advertisement was put out following all procedures. After scrutiny, the names of shortlisted candidates will be put up before selection committee headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, “The selection may be completed by this month-end,” the official said.

The Ministry of Personnel had last month put out an advertisement in newspapers calling applications from eligible candidates for chairperson and eight members of Lokpal by February 7.

Following this, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley questioned its legality and asked the government to withdraw it.

The Prime Minister rejected Jaitley’s contention and said that the advertisement was within the prescribed rules notified recently by the government.

“May I, at the outset, assure you that the advertisement issued in this regard is strictly in terms of the provisions of the (Lokpal) Act and the rules framed thereunder,” Singh had said in his letter to Jaitley.

The prime minister’s reply prompted Jaitley to write again to him contesting the government’s claim.

“I seriously contest the position on basis of which you have been advised…. I would, therefore, urge you to kindly reconsider the position that the government has taken in this regard. How these positions are to be filed up is a discretion only of the Selection Committee and not the Search Committee,” he said in his recent letter.

Of the advertised posts for members in the Lokpal, four are for judicial and the remaining for non-judicial.

The PM-led selection committee has as members Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or a judge of the apex court nominated by him and an eminent jurist, who could be nominated by the President or any of the members.

The chairperson and members shall be appointed by the President after obtaining the recommendations of the selection committee.

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, provides for the establishment of a Lokpal for the Union and Lokayuktas for the states to inquire into allegations of corruption against public functionaries.

President Pranab Mukherjee had given his assent to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill on January 1 this year.

The Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on December 17, 2013, and by the Lok Sabha the next day. (AGENCIES)