Can appoint Lokpal without LoP, says SC
The supreme court remarked that the Lokpal and Lokayukta act of 2013 was an eminently workable piece of legislation. The law provides for the appointment of a chairperson and members even when a recognized leader of opposition is absent in the house.
The government has earlier argued that the appointment of Lokpal is not possible currently, till the Lokpal and Lokayukta act of 2013 is amended to replace the leader of opposition with the leader of the single largest opposition party.
The standing committee of the parliament has already submitted its report supporting the amendment to replace the leader of opposition with the leader of the single largest party as part of the selection committee.
Key provisions of the Lokpal and Lokayukta act 2013:
- As per the provisions of the act, a Lokpal for the union and Lokayukta for the states will be established, to enquire into the allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries
- Lokpal is appointed by a high-level selection committee comprising the Prime minister, Lok Sabha speaker, Leader of opposition, chief justice of India and an eminent jurist chosen by him
- The bill specifies that no appointment either of the chairperson or any other member will be invalid because of the reason that a vacancy exists in the selection committee
- The Lokpal shall consist of,
- Chairperson, who is or has been a Chief Justice of India or is or has been a judge of the supreme Court or an eminent person who fulfils the eligibility.
- Members, not exceeding eight out of which fifty percent shall be judicial members
- The selection committee shall regulate the procedure for selecting the chairperson and other members in a transparent manner
Key provisions of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill, 2016:
- The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha
- The bill amends the Lokpal and Lokayukta act 2013 in relation to declaration of assets and liabilities by a public servant
- Under the amended act a public servant should declare his assets and liabilities and of his spouse and children
What the supreme court stated in its judgement:
- The existing law cannot be put on hold because the parliament is working on a better law
- The court pointed to sub-section (2) of Section 4 of the original 2013 Lokpal Act which states that no appointment either of the chairperson or any other member will be invalid because of the reason that a vacancy exists in the selection committee
- This essentially means that the available members can recommend suitable persons to the president
- Amending a legislation is an ongoing exercise and is based on the experience gained while amending the provisions of the act