Decide on meeting to select first Lokpal in 10 days, says Supreme Court


The Supreme Court on Thursday directed Attorney General KK Venugopal to submit with 10 days the date of meeting of the prime minister-led panel on the appointment of Lokpal and at the same time it turned down advocate Prashant Bhushan’s plea to make public the names proposed by the search committee.

Turning down Bhushan’s plea to put the proposed names in the public domain, the court said that the matter should be left to the search committee.

“We have considered the provisions of the act and it’s our considered view that no directions are required by this court and matter should be left to the search committee,” it said.

Bhushan submitted that further steps were required to be taken for the constitution of the Lokpal and at this stage the names of the panel should be put in public domain. Bhushan said it was the government’s duty to provide the names to the court today.

The Chief Justice of India, however, said that the court cannot perform the job of the selection committee.

“Transparency is a subjective term. You have done good work but there has to be a limit somewhere. You have to stop. We don’t think names require to be put in public domain,” the Chief Justice of India told Bhushan.

“As and when we have the names we will give them to you,” the Supreme Court told Bhushan orally.

The Supreme Court directed the attorney general to inform the court within 10 days the possible date for the search committee led by the prime minister to meet and take a decision on the names for Lokpal.

Attorney general KK Venugopal told the court that he was informed by the chairman of the search committee that three names had been forwarded on February 28 to the selection committee that comprises the chairperson, a judicial member and a non-judicial member.

The attorney general told the court that the search committees’ deliberations had been completed and that the matter now rested with the selection committee. The attorney general also said that the search committee needed another 10 days’ time to finalise the names.

Earlier, at the onset of the hearing, Prashant Bhushan had asked Justice Arun Mishra to recuse from hearing the contempt case against him. The judge asked Bhushan and those who have filed applications in his support to move a proper application. The contempt case was initiated on complaints by the attorney general and the Union of India over Bhushan’s tweets.

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