Ads for Lokpal positions within the rules, says PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has refuted BJP leader Arun Jaitley’s charge that the UPA government was not entitled to bring an advertisement inviting applications for posts of Lokpal chairman and members.

The Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition recently wrote to Singh questioning advertisements issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to fill the Lokpal posts. He had described the move as "illegal" and against the rules as a committee was empowered and not the government to select the anti-corruption watchdog.

The Prime Minister countered Jaitley’s stand by arguing that Rule 10 of the Lokpal Rules, 2014, empowers the government to select Lokpals.

"May I, at the outset, assure you that the advertisement issued in this regard is strictly in terms of the provisions of the (Lokpal) Act and the rules framed thereunder," Singh’s letter clarified.

The Search Committee, says the rule, has to shortlist a panel of names for the Selection Committee to appoint the Chairperson and members of the Lokpal. And, DoPT has to feed search committee with the names for appointment.

Manmohan Singh elaborated that the DoPT’s role is limited to identifying persons for consideration of the Search Committee.

"It is not correct to say that the decision regarding selection by inviting applications or otherwise can only be taken by the Selection Committee. While the Selection Committee shall be free to consider the names other than those recommended by the Search Committee, it does not necessarily follow that the Search Committee would be guided by the Selection Committee in the manner of selection of panel of names as the Act clearly provides for rules to be framed in this regard," the PM said in his response to the opposition leader.

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