The opposition today unleashed a stinging attack on the government over the delay in appointment of the Lokpal, a day after it informed the Supreme Court that the anti-corruption ombudsman cannot be appointed without amending a law. Congress member KC Venugopal strongly objected to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi’s comment in the apex court that the existing law will have to be changed to substitute the Leader of Opposition (LoP) with the leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha, as a member of the Lokpal selection committee.
During the Zero Hour, Venugopal also accused the government of weakening the agencies and the institutions responsible for fighting graft and “bulldozing” the laid down rules and procedures.
“The Attorney General told the Supreme Court that appointment of the Lokpal has been delayed as amendment in law will have to be brought in. He is blaming Parliament for the delay. How can he blame Parliament? This is not acceptable,” said Venugopal.
As several other opposition lawmakers joined Venugopal in attacking the government, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley intervened and said the required amendment in the law is being considered by the concerned Parliamentary Standing Committee. CPI(M) leader Mohammad Salim also criticised the government for delaying the appointment of the Lokpal.
Senior Minister M Venkaiah Naidu strongly objected to Venugopal accusing the government of bulldozing procedures. Rohatgi had informed the apex court that the appointment of the Lokpal was not possible for now as the amendments to the Lokpal law was pending in Parliament. As per the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act of 2013, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha will be part of the Lokpal selection panel.
In the present Lok Sabha, Congress is the largest opposition party but there is no Leader of Opposition as Congress has only 45 members, less than the requisite 10 per cent of total 545 seats to appoint LoP.