New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed Search Committee to complete the task of shortlisting names for Lokpal and its members, by February end and submit a panel of names for consideration of Selection Committee. The top court would hear the plea for the appointment of Lokpal on March 7. Also Read - Amid Farmers Protest, PM Modi Says New Agricultural Reforms Have Given Them Legal Protection
The apex court also asked the Centre to provide the necessary infrastructure for the Search Committee. Also Read - Nationwide Lockdown on Cards? PM Modi to Hold All-party Meet on December 4 to Discuss COVID Situation
Supreme Court Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, “Don’t look at things from a negative point of view. Look at things positively and the world would be a better place. We are trying to make the world a better place.”
The Supreme Court was hearing a petition filed by senior advocate Shanti Bhushan on behalf of an NGO, Common Cause, which states that the Centre failed to appoint a Lokpal despite the apex court’s direction in this regard, issued on April 27, 2017.
Last year, the Modi-government had constituted an eight-member search committee. The panel will be headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and they will recommend the chairperson and members of the anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal.
Former chief of State Bank of India (SBI) Arundhati Bhattacharya, Prasar Bharati chairperson A Surya Prakash and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) head A S Kiran Kumar are the members of the search committee, according to an official order issued by Personnel Ministry.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, which envisages the establishment of anti-graft body Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states to look into cases of corruption against certain categories of public servants, was passed in 2013.
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 Leader of Opposition (LoP), the Chief Justice of India and an eminent jurist chosen by them.