The five-member selection committee, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to select the Chairperson of the much talked about anti-graft Ombudsman Lok Pal and eight of its members, will have its maiden meeting next week in New Delhi to discuss about the selection process.

Minister of State for personnel and in the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy told The Hindu in New Delhi on Monday that the selection committee would constitute a seven-member search committee for short-listing the names of the Chairperson and eight members. The four other members of the selection committee are - the Lok Sabha Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the Chief Justice of India or his nominee and an eminent person to be appointed by the President of India.

The Lok Pal issue witnessed lot of controversies and protests with social activist Anna Hazare undertaking fasts many times in Delhi and in his home town Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra.

After much protests inside and outside the parliament, the Lok Pal and Lok Ayuktas Bill, 2013, was passed by the parliament on December 17, 2013. It became an Act after President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent on January 1, this year and the Act was notified on January 16. On January 17 the rules and procedures under the Act, were gazetted.

The Act provides for creation of anti-graft ombudsman to investigate corruption charges against public functionaries including the Prime Minister, the Ministers and the Members of Parliament.

Among other provisions, the Bill makes it incumbent upon States to make within a year their own law for setting up Lok Ayuktas on the lines of Lok Pal. 

The Ministry of Personnel, on January 18, invited applications for appointment of Lok Pal’s Chairperson and eight members with February 7 as the cut-off date.

Mr. Narayanasamy said the search committee would consist of seven members including the administrators, representatives of the law enforcement agencies, the bankers, the judicial officers, the legal professionals and eminent persons in public life. The selection committee, headed by the PM, would pursue the short listed names and send its recommendations to the President for approval and notification.

The search committee would have not less than 50 per cent of its members from the OBC, SC and ST communities, minorities and women, the minister said. 

In the nine members Lok Pal including its Chairperson, four posts of its members are reserved for those from the judiciary and the remaining to non-judicial persons.

It may be recalled that CBI Director Ranjit Sinha, in a recent letter to the department of personnel, had sought clarifications about various “inconsistencies” in the new legislation including those relating to probe in foreign countries.

Informed sources said the Registrar of the Supreme Court, the Registrars of the High Courts, the Chief Secretaries of the State governments and the Secretaries in the Central government departments and ministries had been informed about the process of selection of Lok Pal and its members and asked them to nominate eligible candidates.

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