Rohatgi joins Lokpal selection panel

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi

The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that former attorney-general Mukul Rohatgi had been appointed as an eminent jurist on the panel to select the country's first Lokpal.

Last month, attorney general K.K. Venugopal had assured the bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi that the Centre was taking the appointment process forward and was going to hold a meeting for selecting an eminent jurist on the panel on 10 May.

Besides the Prime Minister, the selection committee is composed of the Chief Justice of India and the Lok Sabha Speaker.

Mr Rohatgi was appointed as Attorney General of India after the Narendra Modi government assumed power in May 2014.

He said senior advocate P.P. Rao was appointed as an eminent jurist in the panel, but the post became vacant after he passed away a year ago.

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The bench noted in its order that the next step required to be taken by the selection committee would be to constitute a search committee. However, the post fell vacant after Rao passed away a year ago.

The bench, on hearing the submissions, posted the matter for further hearing on July 2.

On April 17, the court had hoped that the appointment of the Lokpal "will be made at the earliest possible". Mr. Rohatgi had steered the government side through many court battles, including the NJAC and the early days of Aadhaar challenge in the apex court. This stance was reiterated by the apex Court past year as well.

It had said the Act was an eminently workable piece of legislation and "does not create any bar to the enforcement of provisions".

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