Can’t keep hanging, pick Lokpal without Leader of Opposition: SC

The bench maintained that the government does not need to wait for the law to change so that the position of Leader of Opposition in the selection committee can be substituted with the leader of the single largest party in the Opposition.

Written by Utkarsh Anand , Manoj C G | New Delhi | Published:April 28, 2017 4:40 am
supreme court, Lokpal, Lokpal appointment, lok sabha, Lokayuktas Act, Lokayuktas Act 2013, PM modi, lok sabha speaker, how to appoint lokpal, lokpal appointment procedure, indian express news, india news The Supreme Court. (File Photo)

THE SUPREME Court ruled on Thursday that the Lokpal could be appointed even in the absence of a Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha. Stating that the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 is an “eminently workable piece of legislation”, the court said “there is no justification to keep the enforcement of the Act under suspension till the amendments, as proposed, are carried out”.

Under the Act, the Lokpal has to be appointed by a selection committee comprising the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or his nominee, and an eminent jurist. But since the Congress does not have the required 10 per cent of the total seats in the Lok Sabha, it has been denied the Leader of Opposition’s status.

“If, at present, the Leader of Opposition is not available, surely, the chairperson and other two members of the selection committee, namely, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India or his nominee, may proceed to appoint an eminent jurist as a member of the selection committee under Section 4(1)(e) of the Act,” held a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha.

The bench maintained that the government does not need to wait for the law to change so that the position of Leader of Opposition in the selection committee can be substituted with the leader of the single largest party in the Opposition.

Responding to the PILs filed by NGOs Common Cause and Youth For Equality, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had earlier told the bench that the Act was being amended to make the necessary substitution. He said the Lokpal selection process would begin when the amendment is passed by Parliament.

But senior lawyer Shanti Bhushan and advocate Gopal Sankaranarayana, who represented the NGOs, had claimed that the government was delaying the amendment since it did not want a Lokpal. They said the government had already amended various other statutes, including those for selection of Chief Vigilance Commissioner, CBI chief and Chief Information Commissioner, to make the change with regard to Leader of Opposition.

In December, the apex court had asked the government whether it would make the change on its own, or if it should read down the Lokpal Act to give a place to the leader of the single largest opposition party in the selection committee. The court had observed that it would not let the Lokpal become “a dead letter” or “redundant”.

However, the bench declared on Thursday that the government could appoint the Lokpal right away without waiting for the law to change. “The Act, as it stands today, is an eminently workable piece of legislation and there is no justification to keep the enforcement of the Act under suspension till the amendments, as proposed, are carried out,” it said.

Reacting to the court’s ruling, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge told The Indian Express that the government could have issued an ordinance if it wanted the Lokpal to become functional. He expressed concern that after the SC ruling, the government could appoint anyone, without consulting the Opposition.

The court also held that there was no “legal disability” for the selection committee — without the Leader of Opposition — to constitute a search committee to prepare a panel of persons for consideration for appointment as the chairperson and members of the Lokpal.

“…absence of such a provision (in the Act), by itself, will not invalidate the constitution of the search committee by the truncated selection committee when the Act specifically ‘empowers’ a truncated selection committee to make recommendations for appointment of the chairperson or members of the Lokpal. To hold otherwise would be self-contradictory,” said the bench.

The bench also held that there was no “constitutional infirmity” in the Lokpal Act if it had not given primacy to the opinion of the Chief Justice of India as a member of the selection committee. “It is not the mandate of the Constitution that in all matters concerning the appointment to various offices in different bodies, primacy must be accorded to the opinion of the CJI or his nominee,” said the bench as it dismissed a petition that questioned the validity of a provision in the Act in this regard.

About a recommendation by a parliamentary standing committee in 2015 to replace the Leader of Opposition with the “Leader of largest Opposition Party”, the court said this was “merely an opinion” which has to be first considered by the Executive, and then approved by the Legislature. “The said opinion… would therefore not be sacrosanct. The same, in any case, does not have any material bearing on the validity of the existing provisions of the Act,” it said.

The court said that various other recommendations of the committee were aimed at streamlining the operation of the Act. “Such attempts cannot halt the operation and execution of the law, which the Executive in its wisdom has already given effect to and has brought into force by resorting to the provisions of Section 1(4) of the Act,” it held.

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  1. P
    paul joyice
    Jul 20, 2017 at 7:47 pm
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      latisha coleen
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      1. L
        latisha coleen
        Jun 29, 2017 at 6:08 pm
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        1. L
          latisha coleen
          Jun 29, 2017 at 6:06 pm
          Hello!! I’m indeed very happy for the great help that Dr. Afaiya rendered to me, I was a herpes patient, my wife also was a herpes patient, i saw an article where Dr. Afaiya cured herpes, I and my wife decided to contact him, he asked us to buy some items, he ask for my address and phone number. we talk and i agreed for him to prepare the cure for us and he did. He sent us the medication through dhl services and told me and my wife how we are going to be using the medication and that after three weeks we should go for check up that we will be free from herpes, Luckily for us we were tested herpes negative, now I believe all these Testimonies about him on the internet, he is truly a great man, if you want to discuss with me on how he cured us, kindly email me on lorrianesams or if you wish to contact him directly here is his email dr.afaiyatradomedical he can cure any deadly disease. Like CANCER,HEP B and C, GENITAL WARTS, DIABETES, HPV, SYPHILIS, ALS, ALCER etc
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          1. L
            latisha coleen
            Jun 29, 2017 at 6:07 pm
            Hello!! I’m indeed very happy for the great help that Dr. Afaiya rendered to me, I was a herpes patient, my wife also was a herpes patient, i saw an article where Dr. Afaiya cured herpes, I and my wife decided to contact him, he asked us to buy some items, he ask for my address and phone number. we talk and i agreed for him to prepare the cure for us and he did. He sent us the medication through dhl services and told me and my wife how we are going to be using the medication and that after three weeks we should go for check up that we will be free from herpes, Luckily for us we were tested herpes negative, now I believe all these Testimonies about him on the internet, he is truly a great man, if you want to discuss with me on how he cured us, kindly email me on lorrianesams or if you wish to contact him directly here is his email dr.afaiyatradomedical he can cure any deadly disease. Like CANCER,HEP B and C, GENITAL WARTS, DIABETES, HPV, SYPHILIS, ALS, ALCER etc
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          2. L
            lara joy
            Apr 28, 2017 at 5:45 pm
            I was haven herpes 2 on my private part. I have had them for about 2 and a bit years. I am so scared what my mates are going to says if there should fined out i have herpes on my private part and due to the virus my girlfriend broke up with me. I have been to the Doctors 9 times to get it treated. They all come back. I have been using Tee Tree Oil and Wartner (You freeze them at home) and they seem to be keeping the smaller herpes small but they can't seem to treat the larger ones. They don't get any bigger, but then they can't shrink as much. They get smaller a little part at a time. At least they are getting smaller! As soon as I see a new herpes appearing, then I treat it. At the moment I have been using Tee Tree twice a week and then using Wartner every 2 weeks. I was wondering if there was any other information about how to get rid of it. I am only a teenager and I hate it most when it get pi-chins me to scratch it, it get sweets when scratching it most times! I want to get rid of
            Reply
            1. S
              S. Gowrishankar,
              Apr 28, 2017 at 4:43 pm
              The supreme court so called again is interfering with the government and parliament. A day is going to come when the parliament, the government and the army will tell the supreme court judges rather the stupid court judges to mind their bloody business and not to interfere with the administration of the government lest they are arrested for contempt of the people of India. The rogue judges do not seem to estimate the undercurrent that is developing rapidly with the people of India against the misdemeanors of those judges and will soon explode. The judges are thinking they are Gods. Those rascal judges must be brought to justice.
              Reply
              1. K
                kripashankar
                Apr 28, 2017 at 11:53 pm
                PERHAPS YOU DO NOT KNOW ANY THING ABOUT THE BOOK CALLED THE CONS UTION OF INDIA . UNLESS YOU CHANGE YOUR NAME TO SHIV SHANKAR YOU WONT BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND IT
                Reply
              2. E
                Editor
                Apr 28, 2017 at 3:43 pm
                Who is this Bhangi Kharge who was cleaning our toilets till the other day to give any opinion?
                Reply
                1. K
                  Kabir
                  Apr 28, 2017 at 4:08 pm
                  hmm kharge never clean toilets, instead those wearing threads were serving his courts before his ancestors were stabbed in back . check your ancestoral history you probably were migrated to do exactly the job that you hate now.
                  Reply
                2. R
                  Rohan
                  Apr 28, 2017 at 3:26 pm
                  A Lokpal may ask uncomfortable questions that would prick the modi bubble so not acceptable. What is really amazing is the silence of 'anna' Hazare. Why is is quiet? I hope he is not adopting he monetary value of 'his' name!!
                  Reply
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