Five years after the notification of the Lokpal and Lok Ayukta Act, the centre has appointed former Supreme Court judge Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose as the Chairperson of the first Lokpal under the Act.
“Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose appointed as Lokpal by President of India, Ram Nath Kovind. President of India appoints Justice Dilip B Bhosale, Justice P K Mohanty, Justice Abhilasha Kumari and Justice AK Tripathi as judicial members. Dinesh Kumar Jain, Archana Ramasundaram, Mahender Singh, and Dr. IP Gautam appointed as members”
This follows the orders passed by the Supreme Court directing the centre to complete the Lokpal appointment process in a time-bound manner.On March 7, the CJI-led bench had directed the centre to inform the date of selection committee meeting within 10 days. Also Read – Lokpal Search Committee Invites Applications For Preparation Of Panel Of Names For Consideration For Appointment As Chairperson & Members The selection committee comprising the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi in the capacity of ’eminent person’ have appointed eight others as members of the Lokpal. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is the leader of the largest opposition party, has been giving a go by to the meetings of the selection panel. He had refused to attend the meeting protesting the fact that he was invited to attend not in the capacity of leader of largest opposition party, but as a “special invitee” The Lokpal is envisaged as a national ant-corruption ombudsman having powers to deal with corruption allegations against any person who is or has been a Prime Minister or a Union Minister, and also central government employees in Groups A, B,C and D. It will have its own inquiry wing and prosecution wing, and has powers to supervise investigation by CBI. The Act has provisions for establishment of Special Courts for trying the offences. Much delayed appointment The selection committee, under the chairmanship of PM Modi met for the first time only in March, 2018, revealed an RTI information obtained in December 2018. As per the RTI reply, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held two meetings of the Lokpal Selection Committee in February, 2014, after the Lokpal Bill was passed. The next meeting under PM Modi was held only on March 1, 2018, four years after the last meeting. The delay in Lok Pal appointment had led the NGO Common Cause to approach the SC seeking intervention. The top court had on July 24 last year rejected as “wholly unsatisfactory” the Centre’s submission on the issue of setting up of a search committee for the Lokpal and demanded a “better affidavit”.The apex court was also told that the selection committee members comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the then CJI Dipak Misra, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and eminent jurist Mukul Rohatgi had met on July 19 last year to deliberate upon names for members of the search committee. The Centre on September 27, 2018 had constituted an eight-member search committee headed by ex-SC judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai to recommend names to the selection panel for appointment of a Lokpal. Other members of the search committee were former chief of State Bank of India Arundhati Bhattacharya, Prasar Bharati chairperson A Surya Prakash, Indian Space Research Organisation head A S Kiran Kumar, former judge of Allahabad High Court Sakha Ram Singh Yadav, former Gujarat Police head Shabbirhusein S Khandwawala, retired IAS officer of Rajasthan cadre Lalit K Panwar, and former Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar. Notable judgments of Justice Ghose Justice Ghose retired as SC judge on May 27, 2017, after a term of four years at the top court. He had started practise in Calcutta in 1976 and was appointed judge of Calcutta HC in 1997. He is presently a member of the National Human Rights Commission. Justice Ghose headed the bench which decided the disproportionate assets case against former TN CM Jayalalitha and her aide Sasikala. The judgment authored by him restored the trial court’s conviction and sentenced Sasikala to imprisonment. The case against Jayalalitha was held to have been abated after her death. He also headed the bench which restored conspiracy charges against BJP leaders L K Advani, Uma Bharati and Murali Manohar Joshi in the Babri Masjid demolition cases. He was part of the bench with Justice KS Radhakrishnan which banned the practices of Jallikattu and bullock cart races as contrary to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. He was part of the 3:2 majority along with then CJI HL Dattu and Justice FMI Kalifulla which quashed the decision of TN Government to remit the sentences of convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assasination case on the ground that that the state government has no suo motu power to remit sentences of persons who were convicted after CBI investgation.