Mukul Rohatgi appointed as 'eminent jurist' in selection panel for Lokpal

Mukul Rohatgi. File photo

Mukul Rohatgi. File photo  

The post of eminent jurist was lying vacant since the death of senior advocate PP Rao

Former Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi has been appointed as 'eminent jurist' in the high-profile Lokpal selection committee led by the Prime Minister. The committee will shortlist candidates for appointment as the anti-corruption ombudsman.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal informed a Bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi about the development.

The selection committee has been meeting on the question of induction of an eminent jurist after the demise of senior advocate P.P. Rao. Mr. Venugopal said the panel finally zeroed in on Mr. Rohatgi, who is a senior advocate practising in the Supreme Court

As the government's top law officer, 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.

The filling of the slot of eminent jurist is a significant step in the appointment process of Lokpal as per the statute.

The court has urged the government to complete the Lokpal appointment process at the earliest.

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

Though passed in 2014, the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act of 2013 was not implemented all these years because there was no Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the 16th Lok Sabha. The 2013 statute includes the LoP as a member of the selection committee. The Act intends the LoP to be the part of the selection committee of the PM, the CJI and the Speaker, which has to first appoint an eminent jurist among their ranks.

However, on April 27 last year, the Supreme Court, in a judgement, clarified that the Lokpal appointment process need not be stalled merely due to the absence of the LoP. The judgement dismissed the government's reasoning that the Lokpal appointment process should wait till the 2013 Act was amended to replace the LoP with the single largest Opposition party leader.

The hearing before Justice Gogoi's Bench is based on a contempt petition filed by Common Cause, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, for not implementing the April 2017 judgement of the Supreme Court.


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Printable version | Aug 5, 2020 11:10:09 PM |

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