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Q. Issue of Lokpal appointment: Comment on ongoing issue regarding the appointment of Lokpal.
Mar 30, 2017 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

Introduction-

Recently the central government told the Supreme Court on Tuesday it was not possible to appoint a lokpal till Parliament cleared the changes proposed to the law governing the appointment of the anti-corruption watchdog. The post of Lokpal, has been vacant since more than three years.

The Supreme Court of India has reprimanded the central government over the delay in appointment. The Supreme Court has sent across a timely message that efforts to cleanse the economy must be matched by equally strong measures to cleanse public life too. As the post is vacant since last three years after passing the relevant law, hence there can really be no excuse for delay in appointment.

Issue-

  • According to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, a five-member panel to select the anti-corruption ombudsman, comprising the Prime Minister, the Lok Sabha Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition, the Chief Justice of India and an eminent jurist.
  • The post leader of opposition is not recognised, as no party (other than ruling party) secured the 10% of total seats in Loksabha and it is the  main reason behind delay in appointment.

Analysis-

  • The only reason for the delay in the appointment of the Lokpal is that a minor amendment to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, to enable the leader of the largest party in the opposition in the Lok Sabha to join the five-member selection committee, is yet to be passed.
  • A parliamentary committee has endorsed the amendment, which is on the same lines as the mechanism for the selection panels for the Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Chief Information Commissioner.
  • The court has indicated that it will not allow the institution to remain inoperative indefinitely, evoking apprehension on the Centre’s part that a judicial direction may be given to get the amendment passed or an ordinance promulgated.
  • The Central government needs to re-examine options on implementing the Lokpal Act and make necessary arrangements to initiate the process of appointment.

Conclusion-

The post of lokpal is vacant since its inception and presently government is citing the reason that, there is no recognised leader of opposition. This should not be the reason for delay in appointment of national ombudsman. Central government should make necessary arrangements in this regard and must appoint Lokpal as early as possible.


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