New Delhi, March 17
Retired Supreme Court judge Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose is said to be in active consideration for appointment as the country’s first Lokpal, the anti-corruption ombudsman.
Justice Ghose, 66, retired as a Supreme Court judge in May 2017. He is a member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) since June 29, 2017.
His name for the post is understood to have been in active consideration by the Lokpal selection panel headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, officials said.
There was no official announcement, which, if made, may trigger a political storm as Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had boycotted the panel’s meet.
The law, which envisages appointment of a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states to look into cases of corruption against certain categories of public servants, was passed in 2013.
The development comes a week after the Supreme Court asked Attorney General KK Venugopal to inform it within 10 days about a possible date for a meeting of the selection committee.
The Lokpal selection committee is headed by the PM and has as its members the Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of the Opposition in the Lower House, the 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 other member.
President Ram Nath Kovind had nominated former AG Mukul Rohatgi as “eminent jurist” as the member of the panel against the vacancy arising following the death of senior advocate PP Rao.
Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge had been invited in the past meetings of the selection panel, but as a “special invitee”. However, he had been refusing to attend the meeting since February last year arguing that there was no provision for a special invitee to attend such a meet.
There is no Leader of Opposition in the current Lok Sabha. A party should have at least 55 seats or 10 per cent of the strength of the Lok Sabha for its leader to get the LoP status. The Congress does not have the requisite number to qualify for it.
Meanwhile, social activist Anna Hazare said the people’s movement for Lokpal, going on for 48 years now, had finally won. He has led several agitations and hunger protests. — PTI
- A person who is or has been Chief Justice of India or SC judge is eligible for appointment as Lokpal
- There is provision for a chairperson and a maximum of 8 members in the Lokpal panel. Of these, four need to be judicial members
- Chairperson and members shall hold office for five years or till they attain 70 years of age
- Salary and allowances of the chairman will be same as that of the CJI
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