Justice Lodha not in race for Lokpal

The senior-most Supreme Court judge Justice R M Lodha, who is to succeed Chief Justice P Sathasivam, denied on Monday that he was in the race to be the first Lokpal of the country.

Justice Lodha will be taking over as the next Chief Justice of India after Justice Sathasivam demits office on April 26.

“I don’t know from where it comes. The race has begun. I am not in the consideration. I have not even demitted the office,” he remarked while hearing a public interest litigation.

His observation assumed significance as it could make Justice Sathasivam emerge as the strong candidate to head the anti-corruption watch-dog amid reports that the Chief Justice had nominated Justice H L Dattu, the second senior most after Justice Lodha, in the selection panel to choose the Lokpal. The Prime Minister-led panel for selection of the Lokpal would have as members Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or a judge of the apex court nominated by him and an eminent jurist who could be nominated by the President or any of the members. 

Dattu who was elevated to the apex court on December 17, 2008, is the second senior-most judge after Justice Lodha.The Centre has sought nominations of eligible candidates for choosing the chairperson and eight members of Lokpal. The last date of sending nomination is February 7.

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