Supreme Court asks Lokpal search committee to recommend names for appointment by February end

  • The Lokpal search committee is headed by former apex court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai

  • CJI Ranjan Gogoi directed the Centre to provide the search committee requisite infrastructure and manpower to enable it to complete its work

  • The Supreme Court bench, also comprising justices LN Rao and SK Kaul, said it would hear the matter again on 7 March

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday fixed a February-end deadline for the search committee on Lokpal to recommend a panel of names for appointment of the country's first anti-graft ombudsman.

The search committee is headed by former apex court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi directed the Centre to provide the search committee requisite infrastructure and manpower to enable it to complete its work.

 Supreme Court asks Lokpal search committee to recommend names for appointment by February end

File image of the Supreme Court of India. AP

The bench, also comprising justices LN Rao and SK Kaul, said it would hear the matter again on 7 March.

Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, told the bench there were certain problems like lack of infrastructure and manpower due to which the search committee was not able to hold deliberations on the issue.

The apex court had on 4 January directed the Centre to place on affidavit steps taken till date for Lokpal's appointment and expressed its displeasure over the tardy progress made in this regard.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Common Cause, which has been pursuing the issue of Lokpal, had said the government has not even made public the members of the search committee on its website.

The search committee will forward the names to the selection committee members comprising the prime minister, the leader of the single largest Opposition party, the Lok Sabha speaker and an eminent jurist.

The top court had on 24 July, 2018 rejected as the Centre's submission "wholly unsatisfactory" on the issue of setting up of a search committee for the Lokpal and demanded a "better affidavit".

The apex court was also told that the selection committee members comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the then CJI Dipak Misra, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and eminent jurist Mukul Rohatgi had met on 19 July, 2018 to deliberate upon names for members of the search committee.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is the leader of the largest Opposition party, has been giving a go by to the meetings of the selection panel.

The top court on 24 July, 2018 was told that the selection panel also took note that the search committee is to comprise a minimum of seven people, including chairperson, with experience in anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance, policy making, finance including insurance and banking, law and management, etc.

The Centre on 27 September, 2018 had constituted an eight-member search committee headed by Justice Desai to recommend names to the selection panel for appointment of a Lokpal.

Other members of the search committee are former chief of State Bank of India Arundhati Bhattacharya, Prasar Bharati chairperson A Surya Prakash, Indian Space Research Organisation head AS Kiran Kumar, former judge of Allahabad High Court Sakha Ram Singh Yadav, former Gujarat Police head Shabbirhusein S Khandwawala, retired IAS officer of Rajasthan cadre Lalit K Panwar, and former Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar.

Updated Date: Jan 17, 2019 17:24:24 IST