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Former Supreme Court judge PC Ghose to be India’s first Lokpal: Officials

Former Supreme Court judge Pinaki Chandra Ghose is likely to be the first Lokpal of the country, officials in the know of developments said.

Justice PC Ghose’s name was cleared by the selection committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi.

Justice Ghose’s name was among the top 10 names that was shortlisted by the Lokpal Search Committee.

After retiring in May 2017 from the Supreme Court, Justice Ghose joined the National Human Rights Commission.

Justice Ghose is a former judge of Calcutta high court and has also served as the former chief justice of Andhra Pradesh high court.

Jutice Ghose’s appointment has come nearly five years after the Lokpal Act was notified on January 16, 2014. The law provides for a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states to probe cases of corruption against public servants.

The Supreme Court, while hearing a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, in a hearing on January 4, this year, had urged the government to appoint a Lokpal at the earliest, saying “much time has elapsed, something needs to be done”.

Delayed for some reason or the other, the search committee was constituted on September 27, 2018, after the Supreme Court’s intervention and former Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai was nominated to head it.

The selection of Justice PC Ghose wasn’t without its own share of controversies.

Since there is no designated Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha currently, the government had invited Mallikarjun Kharge, the leader of the Congress in the House, to meetings of the selection panel but as a “special invitee”.

Objecting to the invitation extended to him for the selection panel meeting as a “special invitee”, Kharge, however, refused to attend the Lokpal selection panel’s meeting

In a letter to the PM, he wrote that he would attend the meeting only after relevant changes are effected in the law. He had also hit out at the Modi government for not amending the Lokpal Act to facilitate the participation of the opposition in the Lokpal’s selection process.

First Published:
Mar 17, 2019 14:42 IST

Source: HindustanTimes