Panel headed by A-G to look into changes in Lokpal rules

A committee under the chairmanship of the Attorney General (A-G) has been formed by the Centre to look into the amendments in Lokpal search panel rules, which were notified by the last UPA government.

PTI| Last Updated: Sep 03, 2014, 13:45 PM IST

New Delhi: A committee under the chairmanship of the Attorney General (A-G) has been formed by the Centre to look into the amendments in Lokpal search panel rules, which were notified by the last UPA government.

The government will go ahead with the appointment of chairperson and members of Lokpal only after the amendments are carried out in the rules, official sources said.

The committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Attorney General Mukul Rohatagi to look into changes in the Lokpal search committee rules, they said.

The search panel is mandated to recommend names for appointment of chairperson and members of the Lokpal.

The erstwhile UPA government could not go ahead with the much-touted appointment of chairperson and members of Lokpal due to BJP's objection to the selection procedure.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who was then Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, had raised strong objections to the "highly improper" procedure adopted by the UPA government to make appointments of Lokpal's head and members.

As per the existing rules, an eight-member search panel is tasked to draw up a panel of persons for consideration by the selection committee led by the Prime Minister for appointment of chairperson and members of the Lokpal.

The search panel has to choose these persons from among the panel provided by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the rules say.  However, the government is likely to empower the search committee to also include people from outside the list to be provided by the DoPT for consideration by the selection committee, the sources said.

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 who could be considered for chairperson and members of the Lokpal "within such period as may be decided by the selection committee".

The search committee shall, as far as possible, in case of members recommend a panel containing names at least three times the number of vacancies to be filled, the new rules said.

Earlier, the committee was to recommend a panel containing at least three times the number of vacancies advertised.

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.

The committee was formed to look into any legal complications for bringing in changes in the search panel rules, which were formed by the last UPA government.

The UPA government could not go ahead with the much- touted appointment of chairperson and members of Lokpal due to BJP's objection to the selection procedure.

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act provides for establishment of a Lokpal for the Union and Lokayuktas for the states to inquire into corruption charges against public functionaries.

The Lokpal selection committee has as its members the Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of Opposition in the Lower House, the Chief Justice of India or a judge of the apex court nominated by him, and an eminent jurist who could be nominated by the President or any other member.