Jaitley questions propriety; NGO moves court

The BJP has launched an attack on the United Progressive Alliance government’s attempt to appoint the first Lokpal, calling it a violation of the Election Commission’s Model Code of Conduct.

A BJP spokesperson said that the party had also written to the Election Commission asking that the process be halted. R. Ramakrishna, National Convener, BJP Election Cell, wrote to the EC on Saturday, asking Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath to put on hold all major appointments until a new government was formed.

In a letter Mr. Ramakrishna maintained that government was trying to hurry major appointments during the elections and cited the case of the new Naval chief’s appointment. “We learn that something similar is cooking in respect of the Army chief, where the present incumbent is due to superannuate in July, 2014. We also hear that there is some hurried activity in hastening the selection process of the Lokpal. It may be recalled the process of selection got aborted by the exit of the eminent jurists and as such the whole selection process currently stands vitiated. These are not desirable trends in a healthy democracy,” Mr. Ramakrishna said.

The EC on Sunday could not confirm receipt of the letter and had no decision to announce.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had written to members of the Selection Committee on April 11, asking if they were available to meet in the last week of April.

The NGO Common Cause which has challenged the rules governing appointment of the Lokpal, a proposed anti-corruption watchdog, moved a fresh application before the Supreme Court last Thursday, asking that the entire process be put in abeyance.

Meanwhile, in a blog post, BJP leader Arun Jaitley asked if it was proper for the UPA “on the eve of its departure” to rush through the appointment of the Lokpal.

More In: National | News