The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre on a writ petition challenging the Rules relating to the entire selection process of Chairperson and Members of the Lokpal.

A Bench of Justices R.M. Lodha and Kurian Joseph, after hearing counsel Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Common Cause and Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran for the Union government issued notice returnable in two weeks and posted the case for further hearing on April 17.

To a question from Justice Lodha whether the selection process was underway, the Solicitor General said the search committee did not meet after the resignation of Justice K.T. Thomas who was to head the panel. The Selection Committee headed by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was yet to meet to decide on the search committee, he added. Mr. Bhushan maintained that whether the selection process was on or not, the court should issue notice as the rules were contrary to the provisions of the Lokpal Act.

Giving an example he said “Rule 10 (4) (i), provides that non-judicial members of Lokpal, apart from having special knowledge and expertise of not less than 25 years in matters relating to anti-corruption policy, public administration, vigilance or law, must have held or must be holding the post of Secretary to the Government of India or any equivalent post thereto under the Central Government or a State Government” This was not found in the Act, he said.

In its petition Common Cause said, “The Rules framed under the Lokpal Act are illegal since the mandatory provision of Section 61 of the said Act requiring any Rule or Regulation framed under the said Act to be laid before each House of Parliament for a total period of 30 days has not been complied with.” It sought a declaration that the Rules “are ultra vires the said Lokpal Act” and sought a direction to quash the entire selection process of the Lokpal.”

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