SC expresses disappointment over Centre not appointing Lokpal

Tags: Policy
The Supreme Court today expressed its disappointment over the Centre for not appointing Lokpal despite Parliament enacting a law in this regard in January 2014.

While the Centre said that the amendment bill is pending in Parliament to include the leader of largest opposition party, a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said that Parliament, by not amending the law, cannot frustrate the mandate for appointment of Lokpal.

The bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao, asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi as to why the court can't pass an order to include the leader of largest opposition party in the selection committee.

The bench posted the matter for further hearing on December 7 when the AG would come back with instructions. Rohtagi told the bench that any order by the court in the present situation would amount to judicial legislation.

Senior advocate Shanti Bhushan appearing for an NGO, Common Cause, said that the Lokpal Bill has been passed after a long struggle and alleged that the government is not doing anything.

"We don't have Lokpal even today, despite the Act being notified in 2014. Even jurist has not been appointed and the will of people is being frustrated. Do you require another Anna andolan?," Bhushan said.

He said that the apex court has to interpret the Lokpal Act to recognise the leader of the largest opposition party as the leader of the opposition (LoP).

Rohatgi said that as per the provisions, the largest opposition party has to have a certain number of MPs in Parliament to claim the post of the leader of the opposition.

He said therefore, the government is amending the Act to include the leader of the largest opposition party in the selection committee for appointment of Lokpal.

"The amendment bill is pending in Parliament and it will take some time to get passed. There can't be a protem situation in this case," the AG said.

To this, Bhushan said that it is a political trick and no Lokpal will be appointed.

"There is a lack of political will. You can take my word. They will not pass this bill. The court should direct the first meeting of the committee to select the jurist," Bhushan sai

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