Govt expedites efforts to select members of Lokpal committee

Govt expedites efforts to select members of Lokpal committee

Govt expedites efforts to select members of Lokpal committee

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has expedited efforts to select seven members and chairperson of the Search Committee for Lokpal, official sources said.

However, the government may not be able to select chairperson and members for the anti-graft body before Lok Sabha polls following refusal of jurists to head Lokpal search panel.

The DoPT has written to some experts in matters related to anti-corruption, policy making, vigilance, finance and law among others to seek their approval to be members of the Search Committee, the sources said.

As per rules, the Prime Minister-led Selection Committee shall constitute a Search Committee comprising seven members and a chairperson.

Former Supreme Court judge K T Thomas has yesterday turned down the offer to head Lokpal Search Committee.

Thomas, who was asked by the government to be on the search panel, said it was not worthwhile for him to head it.

"The reason is when I went through the rules, our committee which is called the Search Committee was to recommend names to Select Committee. The Select Committee need or need not to accept those names. So it was not worth while to have this Search Committee," Thomas had said.

Earlier, legal luminary Fali Nariman has opted out of the panel.

Sources said that government's attempt to appoint Lokpal chairperson and members may not fructify due to impending announcement of Lok Sabha polls by Election Commission any time this week.

"The government will like to form Search Committee before the announcement of elections. It may not go ahead with the selection of chairperson and members of Lokpal once model code of conduct comes into force once polls dates are announced," a senior DoPT official said.

The eight-member Search Committee is mandated to prepare a panel of persons to be considered by the Selection Committee for appointment of chairperson and members of Lokpal.

The Selection Committee has as members the Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the 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 other member.

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 provides for establishment of a Lokpal for the Union and Lokayuktas for the states to inquire into corruption charges against public functionaries. The Centre had already got nominations from various individuals for becoming its chairperson and members.