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SC to hear plea on appointment of ‘Lokpal’

Lokpal Act

New Delhi :  The Supreme Court today agreed to to hear a PIL seeking appointment of anti-graft ombudsman ‘Lokpal’ and tagged it with a pending plea on the issue.

A bench comprising Justices T S Thakur and V Gopala Gowda said it would be tagging the fresh PIL filed by NGO Youth For Equality with pending plea of another NGO ‘Common Cause’ and send it to the appropriate bench.

The fresh plea has sought a direction to the Centre for appointment of the Lokpal.

Earlier, the then UPA government had told the court that it was willing to re-examine contentious issues on selection of Lokpal and was ready to amend two clauses under rule 10.

Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Common Cause, had told that the government cannot proceed on the basis of rule 10 clause (1) and (4).

Rule 10(1) provides that the Search Committee shall prepare a panel of persons to be considered by the Selection Committee for appointment of chairperson and members of the Lokpal, from among the list of persons provided by the central government, which, it has been argued, “directly runs counter to the very object of having an independent Lokpal and the provisions of the said Act”.

Bhushan had also submitted that names of the persons shortlisted by the search committee should be brought into public domain through the website a week before the selection.

NGO Common Cause, in its plea, had sought a stay on the entire selection process of appointment of chairperson and members of the Lokpal, saying the government was going ahead with it despite the apex court being seized of the matter.

The NGO’s plea had sought to declare “illegal” the rules under which selections are being done.

On April 1 last year, the court had sought reply from the Centre asking it to justify the Search Committee (Constitution, Terms and Conditions of appointment of members and manner of selection of panel of names for appointment of Chairperson and Members of Lokpal) Rules, 2014, framed under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act.

The PIL had sought a declaration that certain provisions of the rules were ultra vires of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas

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