Appoint Lokpal at earliest: Supreme court tells Govt
NEW DELHI: The government on Tuesday received another sharp reminder from the Supreme Court on the appointment of a Lokpal or corruption watchdog.
"We expect the appointment of Lokpal will be made at the earliest possible," said the court, scheduling the next hearing on May 15.
The court is acting on a contempt petition by senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, which alleges a delay in the appointment of the Lokpal.
The government told the court that the process of appointing an eminent jurist was on and would take time.
"Since the process of appointment of Lokpal is at an advanced stage we will hear the case after four weeks," said the judges.
In April last year, the court had told the government that the anti-corruption body should be set up without delay and the lack of a Leader of Opposition should not hold up the process. The ruling meant that the government could select a Lokpal without taking the Congress, the main opposition group, on board. The law to set up a Lokpal was passed in 2013 after a nationwide campaign by activist Anna Hazare and others
The law to set up a Lokpal was passed in parliament in 2013 -- after a nationwide campaign by activist Anna
Hazare that included Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan -- and was enacted a year
The government had told the court that the Lokpal could not be appointed as there was no Leader of Opposition in the selection panel and a change in the law that would allow the Congress -- as largest opposition group -- to be a member has yet to be approved in parliament.
The Congress has so far boycotted the meetings of the selection board with its leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, saying he has been called as a "special invitee" with the singular intention of excluding the opposition from the selection process.
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