Setback for Centre as Justice Thomas opts out of lokpal search panel
Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: In a major embarrassment to the Congress government at the Centre, Justice KT Thomas has quit as the head of the Lokpal Committee Search Panel, reports said on Monday.
According to reports, Justice Thomas, who was the head of the panel to search nine members of the Lokpal or national anti-corruption ombudsman, has sent his resignation letter to the Prime Minister`s Office (PMO) expressing his inability to continue with his job.
Justice Thomas` withdrawal from the Lokpal Committee Search Panel comes nearly a week after noted jurist Fali Nariman refused the government`s invite to be a part of the committee.
Nariman said that he believes the selection process is flawed and unlikely to find the most deserving candidates.
Justice Thomas, who retired from the Supreme Court in 2002, was chosen to head the committee by a panel that included the Prime Minister and Sushma Swaraj, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
"I have decided to withdraw from the search committee after I studied the rules. The selection committee itself can find out the persons from the list of central government, what the search committee is expected to do and forward the list to the government," Thomas said in his letter to PMO.
Earlier, the BJP had objected to one of the Prime Minister’s nominees for the panel - PP Rao - accusing him of being pro-UPA 2.
Of the advertised posts for members in the Lokpal, four are for judicial and the remaining for non-judicial. The PM-led selection committee has as members Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, 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 of the members.
The chairperson and members shall be appointed by the President after obtaining the recommendations of the selection committee.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, provides for the establishment of a Lokpal for the Union and Lokayuktas for the states to inquire into allegations of corruption against public functionaries.
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