Meeting On Lokpal On March 1
IAS Studies , 25th Feb, 2018 , 194
News & Politics ENGLISH
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- In a turnaround from its earlier position, the government will invite the leader of the single largest Opposition party to attend a meeting scheduled for March 1.
- It will discuss the long-pending appointments to the anti-corruption ombudsman, Lokpal.
- At a brief hearing before a Bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal said the meeting would have the Prime Minister, the Lok Sabha Speaker, the
- Chief Justice of India and the leader of the single largest Opposition party in attendance.
- Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner NGO Common Cause, said the single largest Opposition party leader was attending as a “special invitee.”
- Justice Gogoi asked the government to update the court in an affidavit on March 5.
- This is a significant development as the government has for years taken the position that Lokpal appointments could be made only after amending the law to replace the Leader of the Opposition with the single largest party Opposition leader on the high-level selection committee.
- The Bench posted the next hearing for March 6.
- Under the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act of 2013, the high-level selection committee for appointments to Lokpal comprises the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, the LoP, the Chief Justice of India and an eminent jurist chosen by them.
- The 16th Lok Sabha does not have an LoP as the Congress party failed to get the required 10 per cent membership in the Lok Sabha post the 2014 parliamentary elections.
- However, an April 2017 judgment by the Supreme Court did not buy the government’s argument that an amendment in the provisions to replace the LoP with the single largest Opposition party leader was necessary to get on with the Lokpal appointments.
- The judgment authored by Justice Gogoi called the Lokpal Act of 2013 an “eminently workable legislation” in its present form itself.
- He observed that the 2013 Act provided enough room for the appointment of Lokpal chairperson and members even in the absence of a recognized LoP.
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