Centre on Saturday invited applications for appointment to the post of chairperson and members of the anti-graft watchdog, Lokpal.

“Government has invited applications for filing up a post of chairperson and eight posts of members of Lokpal. Four posts are reserved for judicial members,” a senior official in the Ministry of Personnel said.

A letter seeking nominations of eligible officers has been sent to the Registrars of Supreme Court and the high courts. “Centre has also written to the Chief Secretaries of state governments,” he added.

The applications, which are to be addressed to the Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), have to reach by February 7, the official said.

President Pranab Mukherjee had given his assent to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill on January 1 this year. The Bill was passed by Rajya Sabha on December 17, 2013, and by Lok Sabha the following day.

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 certain public functionaries. It has under its purview even the prime minister, albeit with certain safeguards.

The Act provides for a chairperson and up to eight members for the Lokpal.

The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on August 4, 2011, by V. Narayanasamy, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.

It was passed by the lower house at the fag end of the winter session of 2011. But Rajya Sabha could not approve the Bill as the house was adjourned before a vote could be taken.

Later, a select committee of Rajya Sabha had suggested changes in the Bill, most of which were incorporated and approved by the Union Cabinet. Following the amendments, Rajya Sabha eventually passed the Bill.

The Lokpal legislation had become a bone of contention among the ruling Congress, opposition BJP and civil society groups with each wanting to make changes in the draft.

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