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Expect Centre to appoint Lokpal at the earliest, says Supreme Court

India Today logo India Today 17-04-2018

The Supreme Court today said it expects the Narendra Modi government to appoint a Lokpal (corruption watchdog) at the earliest.

A Supreme Court bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R Banumathi, however, refused to pass any order on a plea seeking the appointment of Lokpal.

The court adjourned the matter by four weeks after Attorney General KK Venugopal said the process to appoint a Lokpal is on. The matter will be next heard on May 15.

During the hearing on the matter last month in the Supreme Court, the Centre had flagged two hurdles in implementing the Lokpal law. One, rules say the selection panel should have the Leader of Opposition (LoP) as one of its members, but there is no recognised LoP in the current 16th Lok Sabha.

The other hurdle it cited related to the tenure of the eminent jurist to be appointed by the selection committee.

Under the present Lokpal Act, the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha has to be a member of the Lokpal selection committee. However, in the present Lok Sabha, there is technically no Leader of Opposition as no opposition party has the required 10 per cent of the total seats.

The Congress, with 48 MPs, is the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha.

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had earlier this month once again declined the government's invitation to a meeting of the Lokpal selection committee as "special invitee", terming it "misleading".

"An invitation as a special invitee without rights of participation, recording of opinion and voting in the procedure is only to mislead the nation and the people, rather than sincerely seeking the participation an opinion of the opposition," Kharge wrote in his second letter on the matter to Modi.

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(Provided by NDTV)

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