by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group
PM-Led Lokpal Panel meets on Sep. 4
Kharge refuses again,
8-Member Search Committee tio be formed
New Delhi, Sep. 1
The Lokpal panel comprising of Prime Minister Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and eminent jurist Mukul Rohtagi will meet on Tuesday next, September 4.
This will be the fifth meet of the Lokpal panel to set up Search Committee which in turn will select country's first Lokpal. The Search Committee will comprise of eight eminent jurists, former judges and others.
The Prime Minister is keen to fast-track the selection process of Lokpal and wants the institution to come into being during 2018 itself. It was largely because of this very reason that the 5th meeting of the Lokpal panel is taking place within a fortnight of the 4th meeting on August 22.
It was decided that all four Lokpal panel members including the PM will furnish five names each. Kharge who has been skipping the meeting, was requested to send the names of five persons for the search committee. But he declined saying that he will be not be part of the process until made a full member. Therefore, it is possible that the Lokpal panel will have 20 names to be considered for the search committee when it meets on on September 4 setting the stage for selecting the Lokpal.
Its a different matter that the selection of country's first Lokpal is turning out to be an Herculean task for the Modi government. Since he is keen that Lokpal is functional at the earliest as it was one of his poll promises. The Supreme Court is also monitoring the process of Lokpal selection and even rapped the government on previous occasions.
However, the process of selecting Lokpal is cumbersome as the 8-member Search Committee will invite applications for the post of 9 Lokpals through advertisement in newspapers. The Lokpal will be a 9-member body.
It may be mentioned that the same task was undertaken by the Manmohan Singh government after the Lokpal & Lokayukta Act was passed in 2013. A search committee comprising of 8 members headed by Justice K T Thomas was constituted in February 2014 which invited applications for Lokpal. There were 300 applicants for 9 posts of Lokpal. But suddenly Justice Thomas decided to quit and the process came to a grinding halt. It will be a miracle if the Modi government can complete the task during the remaining period of its term.