Ex-AG Rohatgi appointed ‘eminent jurist’ in Lokpal selection panel: Govt to SC

By: | Published: May 16, 2018 5:26 AM

Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi has been appointed ‘eminent jurist’ in the high-profile Lokpal selection committee, led by the Prime Minister, which will shortlist candidates for the post of the anti-corruption ombudsman and other posts, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

narendra modi govt, mukul rohatgi, lokpal panel, jurist in lokpal panelFormer Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.

Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi has been appointed ‘eminent jurist’ in the high-profile Lokpal selection committee, led by the Prime Minister, which will shortlist candidates for the post of the anti-corruption ombudsman and other posts, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The filling of the slot of eminent jurist is a significant step in the appointment process of Lokpal as per the statute. Rohatgi has served as India’s 14th Attorney General from June 2014 to June 2017.

Attorney General KK Venugopal informed a bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi that Rohatgi was selected by a committee comprising PM Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Supreme Court Chief Justice Dipak Misra at their April 10 meeting. It was not attended by Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge as he was called not as a member of the selection panel but as a special invitee.

The selection panel has been meeting on the question of induction of an eminent jurist after the demise of senior advocate PP Rao, Venugopal said, adding that the panel finally zeroed in on Rohatgi. However, the SC refused to give directions on the time frame for the appointment of the Lokpal. The selection panel will now constitute a seven-member search panel for preparing a list of persons to be considered for appointment as chairman and members of Lokpal.

Reacting to Rohatgi’s appointment as eminent jurist on the selection committee, lawyer Prashant Bhushan tweeted: “Today, the government informed the Supreme Court it has made progress on the appointment of Lokpal. After four years, the Prime Minister, CJI and the Lok Sabha Speaker have selected the former AG of Modi government and counsel for Amit Shah and assorted criminals as ‘eminent jurist’ on the Lokpal Selection Committee! However Lokpal would take ‘considerable time’.”

The SC is hearing a contempt plea by NGO Common Cause filed after the government did not act on the apex court’s April 27, 2017 judgment on the (Lokpal) Act.

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