Govt allows Lokpal panel to frame own regulations

Fresh notification removes restrictions on committee

The Centre has notified fresh rules for the Lokpal Search Committee, junking the previous UPA regime's controversial provisions and giving it more scope to recommend names for chairperson and members of the anti-corruption body outside the list provided by the government.

The Search Committee could not be constituted during the UPA regime after eminent jurists Fali S Nariman and retired Supreme Court judge Justice K T Thomas refused to be the member of Lokpal Search Committee, raising serious questions over the limited mandate of preparing a panel to be considered by the prime minister-led Selection Committee from a list given by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

The fresh notification was issued on August 27, omitting restrictions for the search committee to recommend the names for Lokpal through the list provided by the DoPT.

“The search committee may, for the purpose of shortlisting of persons, adopt such norms as it may consider appropriate. The words ‘from amongst the list of persons provided by the central government in the DoPT’ shall be omitted,” the new rules said.

The number of members in the search committee has also been reduced to seven from eight.

Besides this, the government has also done away with the time-limit of 30 days given to the search committee for recommending the names, after receiving the list from the DoPT, to the selection committee. The search committee will have to give the list of names that could be considered for chairperson and members of the Lokpal “within such period as may be decided by the Selection Committee”.

The search committee is mandated to recommend, in case of chairperson of Lokpal, a panel of at least five names. The rules were notified following a recommendation by a committee headed by Attorney General (AG) Mukul Rohatgi.

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